The Pune police on Wednesday arrested five supposed top urban Maoist operatives from Mumbai, Nagpur and Delhi, the Indian Express has reported. Those arrested have been identified as Delhi based activist Rona Wilson, advocate Surendra Gadling, professor Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut from Nagpur and Mumbai’s Sudhir Dhavle.
As also reported by a New Indian Express report, these arrests have been made in connection which the Elgaar Parishad held at Pune’s Shaniwarwada on 31 December 2017, which is believed to have led to the subsequent Bhima Koregaon violence on 1 January.
This conference was held to mark the 200th anniversary of a British victory over Peshwas, which has been spun by leftist historians as a ‘Dalit victory’ owing to the belief that the the British army was supposedly comprised of Dalits and other lower castes while the ruling Peshwas were Brahmins.
The residences and offices of all those arrested were earlier raided around April, with the police confiscating laptops, literature and pamphlets.
As per the Indian Express report, the arrests were made after a forensic analysis was conducted on the evidences obtained during the raids. The police would now seek a transit remand of the five accused to bring them to Pune for questioning.
A Hindustan Times report quotes Pune’s joint commissioner of police – Ravindra Kadam as stating that a case against the accused was registered at Vishram Baug police station. He also claimed that the police was investigating a possible connection between the Maoists and the violence.
Of those arrested, Wilson is a member of Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), who allegedly forms a link between urban and jungle Maoists. He is believed to be a close aide of Maoist cum Delhi University professor GN Saibaba who was convicted last year for waging war against India.
Dhawale was one of the organisers of the Elgaar Parishad and was arrested in 2011 for suspected Maoist links but was later acquitted. Gadling a lawyer has been known to represent various Maoists in court cases, with one of his clients being the aforementioned Saibaba.
Professor of English Shoma Sen as per reports has been under the scanner for her links with left wing extremists. Her husband was arrested last year over his suspected connection with Maoists in a 2010 case.
Finally, Raut who was a Prime Minister Rural Development (PMRD) fellow, is suspected to be a link between the urban Maoists and those waging war from within the woods.