Arrest of rights activists smack of unofficial emergency

Author: 
Raman Swamy

Varavara Rao is 77 years old – he is a well-known Telugu poet, college principal and human rights activist - his house in Hyderabad was raided on Tuesday morning.  The reason, according to the police, is that he is suspected of plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sudha Bharadwaj is a lawyer specializing in tribal welfare cases - an engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur, she renounced American citizenship despite being born in Massachusetts and has spent the last 30 years fighting against MNC mining companies usurping adivasi land in Chhattisgarh.  She was arrested from her Faridabad residence at dawn on Tuesday.  Reason? She too was suspected of being in the plot to kill the Prime Minister. 
Gautam Navlakha is a well-known Delhi-based journalist, Penguin author, human rights campaigner and regular contributor to the Economic and Political Weekly.   He too was raided at 6 a.m. on Tuesday and had all his books, papers and electronic equipment seized.  The reason - suspicion of being a dreaded “urban terrorist” with links to the Modi assassination plot.
Eighty-three year old Father Stan Swamy also received the knock on the door of his Ranchi residence on Tuesday morning with police claiming to have “confidential information” of his involvement in the conspiracy to kill --  (yes, you got it)  the Prime Minister of India.  Father Swamy has been a lifelong tribal rights crusader in Jharkhand and is a Christian priest which, in the eyes of the government, proves his guilt.
The poet in Hyderabad, the lawyer in Faridabad, the journalist in New Delhi and the priest in Ranchi were not the only ones to be raided and detained on the fateful morning of August 28.  There were many others - it takes several thinking minds to devise a devious Sriperumbadur-style plot to take down a Prime Minister.
In Mumbai, the home of activist Vernon Gonsalves and his lawyer wife Susan Abraham, was also raided at around 6 am.  Lawyer Arun Ferreira also received a similar police visit.  
In Hyderabad, the police turned up at the residences of Varavara Rao’s two daughters, Pavana and Anala, and their husbands Satyanarayana, a college professor, and Kurmanath, a journalist, Raids were also simultaneously conducted at the homes of others like Kranti Tekula and Naseem  both suspected of being in the ring of conspirators.
In Goa, the target was another suspected “urban guerilla” – award-winning writer and management guru Anand Teltumbde.
Professor Teltumbde, incidentally, holds a post-graduate diploma in management from IIM Ahmadabad and a mechanical engineering degree from Nagpur’s prestigious Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology.  
That apart, he has also been an Executive Director of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd and the CEO of Petronet India Ltd and handled assignments in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and China. In fact, he was a member of the study group on Petroleum Deregulation in 1995 and worked on several government nd corporate committees.
A management teacher at the Goa Institute of Management,  Prof. Anand Teltumbde has also taught post-graduates and doctoral students at various other management institutes and has even been a Ph D examiner.  He has published more than 20 research papers in reputed international journals in the areas like Business Strategy, Production Research, Ergonomics and Information Technology.
He is the recipient of awards and recognitions for his social work too -  Ambedkar Centenary Award (UK),  Ram Manohar Lohia Centenary Award, Vikas Ratna and Maharashtra Foundation (USA).  In 2014, the Karnataka State University conferred on him an honorary doctorate.
Considered a noted scholar on people movements and Dalit causes, he has authored several books and contributed articles in magazines like Outlook India, Seminar, Frontier and Economic & Political Weekly (in which he writes a regular column 'Margin Speak').
All said and done, it was a glorious red-letter day in the history of law and order in India under BJP-RSS rule.   A nefarious attempt to assassinate the Prime Minister has been nipped in the bud – most probably nipped even before any of the alleged co=conspirators could even plant the seeds of their evil thoughts.
The simultaneous surgical operation across the country was well-coordinated and precise.  The suspected ring leaders have been nabbed and neutralized in Mumbai, Delhi, Ranchi, Goa and Hyderabad - much before they could have turned from being poets, writers, journalists, lawyers and management gurus into deadly Urban Terrorists.  
This was second swoop on the murderous gang members who have spent their whole life planning to physically eliminate Narendra Modi.  The first surgical strike was on June 6 – when in another coordinated operation the police had arrested Professor Shoma Sen in Nagpur, Rona Wilson from Delhi, Sudhir Dhawale in Mumbai and many others including Surendra Gadling and Mahesh Raut.
The raids and arrests of teachers, thinkers and human rights crusaders have collectively achieved the main objectives – to protect the Prime Minister and also to deflect attention away from the investigation of cases against Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, who have been accused of provoking the violence in Bhima Koregaon in January.
No hard evidence was produced, there was no warrant, but the human right lawyers and the activists who defended the defenceless adivasis, have been nabbed by the police on the basis of “clues”. It is now unofficial emergency in the last year of Modi-Shah rule.
Ever since the Bhima Koregoan violence against Dalits, the Maharashtra Police and the central investigating agencies have faced with an embarrassing dilemma - how not to pursue the probe against the real culprits?  Now that matter has been put to rest. (IPA)

Monday, 10 September, 2018