Monday, October 19, 2020
Home News Reports The 'Urban Maoists' raided, who they are, and what connects them all

The ‘Urban Maoists’ raided, who they are, and what connects them all

A massive crackdown has been underway on supposed Naxal sympathizers in connection with the violence at Bhima Koregaon last year and an assassination plot to murder Prime Minister Modi. The residences of prominent ‘Civil Rights Activists’ have been raided and they have either been detained or arrested. Here, we look at the backgrounds of these activists.

Gautam Navlakha

Navlakha is supposedly a civil liberties, democratic and human rights activist and a journalist. He has worked as the consultant editor for Economic and Political Weekly and has been associated with People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) for a long time as an activist.

It is quite evident from his writing that he quite the Naxal sympathizer. In 2011, he was refused entry at the Srinagar airport as the then government of Jammu & Kashmir believed that his presence could disturb peace in the valley. PUDR, the organization Navlakha has been associated with, also condemned the ban on PFI in Jharkhand despite numerous members of PFI being involved in violent activities and allegations that the organization is brainwashing Hindu women and felicitating their conversion.

PUDR also insinuated that the massive operations against Maoists in Gadrichholi last year, which is touted to be the most successful anti-Maoist operations in recent years, was in fact organized state-sponsored slaughter.

Varavara Rao

Rao is a communist, activist, poet, journalist, literary critic, public speaker and a Maoist ideologue who has been arrested several times in the past. He was jailed in 1980 for two years for waging a war and conspiring against the state. Varavara Rao shouted “long live revolution” as he was detained. He was later acquitted.

As per an interview with, he visited Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai in 2014 for a talk titled “Raging war against India: Deconstructing the notion of India”. In the interview, he talks freely about Maoism and what he envisions the future to be for Maoism.

Sudha Bharadwaj

Sudha Bharadwaj is an Indian trade Unionist, civil rights activist against land acquisition who has been living in Chhattisgarh for a long while. She is also the General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh unit of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), a fraternal organization of PUDR which has been mentioned earlier.

On its website, PUCL states that it condemns the hanging of terrorist Afzal Guru but the link appears to be broken. Republic TV had reported that they had managed to access a letter from Sudha Bharadwaj to one Comrade Prakash which allegedly showed a link between ‘Urban Naxals’ and Kashmiri separatists. Republic TV’s report was condemned by various ’eminent citizens’ including Prashant Bhushan.

Vernon Gonzalves

Vernon is a member of Communist Party of India (Maoist) and was convicted in 2007 by a Nagpur sessions court under the Arms Act, Explosives Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Gonsalves was arrested with Sridhar Srinivasan in Mumbai by the Anti-Terrorism Squad. As per the prosecution in the case, nine detonators, 20 gelatin sticks, a walkie-talkie set, a computer, Naxal literature were seized from the duo in a raid in a chawl in Govandi, Mumbai.

As per security agencies, he is a former central-committee member and former secretary of Maharashtra State Rajya Committee of the Naxalites and he was charged in 20 cases. He was acquitted in 17 of them due to lack of evidence.

Arun Ferreira

Arun Ferreira is no stranger to prison as well. He had spent 4 and a half years in Nagpur prison before being granted bail by the District and Sessions court of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and was eventually acquitted of all charges in 2014.

He was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on charges of sedition. He became a poster boy for the media which portrayed him as a victim of the villainous state.

Father Stan Swamy

Stan Swamy is the founder member of Vistapan Virodhi Janvikash Andolan (VVJA). He is a Jesuit priest who has been facing some trouble with the law for a while. Earlier this year, an FIR was filed against him for allegedly inciting tension over the Pathalgadi movement.

A senior policeman from Pune is reported to have said Swamy was “suspected to have links with Elgar Parishad that is leading the violent Dalit movement in Maharashtra”. Stan Swamy is also associated with the PUCL.

Anand Teltumbde

Teltumbde is a management professional, writer, civil rights activist, and political analyst. He is a regular contributor to various media outlets. He also teaches management at the Goa Institute of Management. Teltumbde has denied all the allegations labelled against him. “None of the people arrested last time and today had the remotest connection with Bhima-Koregaon. As for me, I had publicly written critically about observing the Bhima-Koregaon anniversary, incurring the wrath of Dalits,” Teltumbde told Mint.

The raids by the Pune Police today on the civil rights ‘activists’ reveal a lot about the ‘civil society’ that the intellectual elite keeps harping on about. Some of these have been hailed as anti-establishment heroes following their acquittal or their release from prison after serving out their sentence upon conviction. Ferreira, especially, became some sort of an icon following his acquittal and he has been much eulogized in the mainstream media.

In 2014, Ferreira was at the Press Club with Varavara Roy for the release of his book, “Colours of the Cage: A Prison Memoir”. And in an inexplicable case of irony, Ferreira and Gonsalves who had written an article for DailyO titled ‘Why the letter about a Rajiv Gandhi type assassination is fake’ were themselves arrested yesterday in connection with the case by the Police.

There appears to be something terribly amiss with the academia and our universities. As has been mentioned before, TISS was the site for a talk titled “Raging war against India: Deconstructing the notion of India” and Varavara Rao, an unabashed Maoist, was there at the University for the event.

It is also surprising that Binayak Sen, a man convicted for sedition and helping Naxalites, was invited at TISS to deliver a keynote address at an event. A former student of TISS admitted on condition of anonymity that events such as these were par for the course for the institute.

Ferreira, too, was all set to deliver a talk at TISS as well but the authorities cancelled the event at the last moment stating that the venue had not been booked by the student organization beforehand. He held that intelligence agencies were responsible for his event being cancelled while the Director of TISS asserted that he was not “amenable to reason”.

Vernon Gonsalves, who has been convicted previously, was at JNU too speaking on how to confront fascism. And everyone raided today, with the exception of Varavara Rao, has contributed to Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) at some point or the other or contribute regularly. The EPW is a journal with a leftist disposition published by the Sameeksha Trust that has alleged historian Romila Thapar as a member of its Board of Trustees. Controversial editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta was the editor of EPW before he resigned from the post in 2017.

Speaking of academia, everyone is, of course, aware of the noxious propaganda that goes on at JNU in the name of education and freedom of expression. Yet, in the Swarajya report, ‘The Secret History of JNU’, people will discover information they were hitherto unaware of.

It is quite obvious that the intellectual elite which is so enamoured by the ideas of Marx will act as a Trade Union itself. They believe that should they organize themselves under one banner, then they will be able to bend the government to their will. Like true members of a Trade Union, members of the intellectual elite jumped into action as soon as the Police raids began.

Quick to criticize the government was Ramchandra Guha, a contributor to the EPW himself like so many of those who were raided today. EPW also has the honour of receiving contributions from DU Professor Nandini Sundar, wife of The Wire Editor S Varadarajan, who was booked in the murder case of a tribal man along with Maoists. PUCL said in a statement, “Such systematic and pre-meditated crackdown on human rights activists is unprecedented and unheard of in a democracy.” The statement by PUCL is not surprising considering its member Sudha Bharadwaj suffered the crack of the whip in the raids. PUCL can also boast of having Binayak Sen as one of its former Vice-Presidents. Prashant Bhushan who has branded the raids fascist has been associated with the PUCL in the past as well.

Teesta Setalvad also has spoken out condemning the raids which is not surprising at all considering her history of legal trouble. Amnesty International and Oxfam India issued a joint statement on the matter as well and deemed the raids disturbing. Some might inform Oxfam that its cover-up of sexual misconduct by its senior aid workers in Haiti was disturbing and others would inform Amnesty that the anti-Brahmin rants by an activist associated with it is disturbing and that the raids are merely a part of an ongoing investigation. However, their opinions wouldn’t count as they are individual voices only while they are certified Trade Unions of Civil Society.

An attempt is being made to build a narrative that the raids on the activists for their alleged link to Maoists are an ‘undeclared emergency’. It is precisely how trade unions work. They threaten that if their demands are not met, then no work shall be done. Intellectuals cannot make such threats, therefore, they use their power to shape narratives to bend the government to their will.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

Related Articles

Trending now

Rajdeep Sardesai and India Today secure a gag order against social media user who had said they took 8 crores for Rhea interview

Issuing an order on India Today petition, the Delhi HC has ordered Twitter to suspend the man named Anurag Srivastava, and Google to remove the content from search results.

Jinnah’s ideology: Prof Brij Narain, a strong supporter of Pakistan’s creation, was hacked to death by an Islamist mob in Lahore in 1947

Prof Brij Narain, an enthusiastic exponent of Pakistan, was hacked to death in broad daylight by a Muslim mob even as he kept pleading them to stop ransacking his house in Lahore in the wake of partition .

India-China standoff: Indian army captures PLA soldier, probing espionage angle

The army stated that the PLA personnel will be handed over to the Chinese officials at Chushul-Moldo meeting point, following the completion of formalities.

If Congress comes back to power, it will be impossible to utter a word against them

This time, they will have a third and most potent weapon: technology and dominance in the digital space.

‘Uddhav Thackeray has formed a special team to bring down Republic TV, Arnab has to be locked up’: Explosive sting reveals MVA govt plot

"The strategy is to lock him (Arnab Goswami) behind bars. Nobody can save his channel from being banned," the Congress leader said.

Recently Popular

After Chinese phones blocking weather data for Arunachal and Ladakh, now Twitter shows Leh as part of China

Security analyst Nitin A Gokhale found that Twitter has labelled Leh in Ladakh as part of People's Republic of China (PRC)

In 2012 ‘out of town’ Salman Khan partied with Parambir Singh in Mumbai on day Bandra cops could not serve him Court summons for...

As reported by Mid-Day in 2012, Salman Khan and Parambir Singh were both found attending a Christmas party hosted by Sunny Dewan and his wife Anu Dewan in Mumbai. This when the Bandra cops claimed Khan was not in town.

During 26/11 Mumbai attack, Param Bir Singh refused to be on ground and take on terrorists, then Mumbai CP Hasan Gafoor had said

Hasan Gafoor, who was the Mumbai Commissioner of Police during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, had accused senior police officials, including Param Bir Singh of not taking on the terrorists.

Pro-congress journalists and trolls target Amitabh Bachchan’s son-in-law Nikhil Nanda when another Nikhil Nanda criticised Rahul Gandhi

Nikhil Nanda, the MD of JHS Svendgaard Laboratories Limited, had exposed Rahul Gandhi for criticising India's handling of COVID-19 crisis

Shashi Tharoor wears Mani Shankar Aiyar’s hat, denigrates India and praises Pakistan at Lahore Literature Festival, claims Modi govt targeting Muslims

Shashi Tharoor denigrated India and praised Pakistan during a discussion at the Lahore Literature Festival.

Odisha lawyer Mehendi Reza gives rape threats to Kangana Ranaut on Navratri post, claims Facebook ID was ‘hacked’

Actress Kangana Ranaut receives rape threat on her post wishing people for Navratri.
- Advertisement -

Days after an Islamist brutally beheaded a teacher, France Govt prepares to expel 231 religious extremists from the country

France is planning to come down hard on religious extremists after an Islamic youth beheaded a teacher recently

Congress, media target Varun Gandhi for unwillingness to speak to a stranger late at night: Here is who the man was and why he...

The Congress party has decided to go after BJP MP Varun Gandhi after a leaked version of his conversation found its way to the media.

India formally invites Australia to join the 2020 Malabar trilateral naval exercise, Australia confirms full participation: Read details

It will be the first time all members of the regional grouping known as the Quad will participate in the Malabar naval exercise

Rajasthan: Two minor girls gang-raped, police shift victims to the hospital in an auto-rickshaw instead of ambulance

Two minors gang-raped by six in Rajasthan. Police conducting raids at various locations in search of accused.

Dance moves by Dr Arup in Silchar, Assam wins Internet, inspires Hrithik Roshan

The Assam doctor's dance video has gone viral on social media, gaining thousands of likes and comments.

Family of girl murdered in terror attack condemns BBC for providing platform to terrorist Ahlam Tamimi, painting her as a victim: Read details

Ahlam Tamimi was convicted and sentenced for 16 years her role in a pizza parlour bombing in Jerusalem in 2001 before her imprisonment was cut short in a prisoner-exchange deal with Hamas

Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami to sue Param Bir Singh for Rs 200 crore after Maha Govt’s admission in Mumbai High court

Maha Govt and Mumbai police distances itself from the allegations meted out at Republic TV by PC Param Bir Singh

Frustrated with “rants” of Shashi Tharoor, MP Nishikant Dubey requests Lok Sabha speaker to put him in a committee where there is no Tharoor

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor yesterday ranted against Republic TV and Times Now, issuing 'moral sermons' to the corporates who financed the aforementioned news channels

Rajdeep Sardesai and India Today secure a gag order against social media user who had said they took 8 crores for Rhea interview

Issuing an order on India Today petition, the Delhi HC has ordered Twitter to suspend the man named Anurag Srivastava, and Google to remove the content from search results.

Connect with us