The polit bureau of the CPI(M) has demanded the immediate release of dreaded ‘Urban Naxals’ such as Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha and Professor Saibaba on health grounds during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. It expressed “grave concerns” over the health of individuals it called ‘political and human rights activists’.
The statement issued by the polit bureau of the CPI(M) said, “It has been reported that Akhil Gogoi has tested positive for Covid-19. Varavara rao’s health is also been reported to be alarming. Given the cramped and unhygienic condition in the jails, there is every possibility that prominent human rights activists such as Gautam Navlakha, Anil Teltumbde, Sudha Bhardwaj, Shoma Sen etc., jailed on trumped up charges are at risk of catching the infection.”
“Among the other political prisoners, the condition of Prof. Saibaba is even worse. A person with 90 per cent disability, he has 19 medical conditions, many of which are life threatening. Even UN special rapporteurs on human rights had last year demanded his release given his health condition,” it added.
The people the CPI(M) polit bureau calls ‘political and human rights activists’ have serious charges against them and a history of associations with individuals and organisations linked to terror activities. Some of them are even accused in the Elgar Parishad case. Thus, the language that the party has chosen to adopt is extremely dangerous and undermines the interests of the very people political parties are meant to protect.
The ‘Urban Naxals’ CPI(M) calls ‘human rights activists’
Gautam Navlakha is currently charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He is accused in the Elgar Parishad case along with Anand Teltumbde. It has been alleged that they have links to Maoists. They have been associated with organisations with extensive links to Naxalites. The same is the case with Varavara Rao, Shoma Sen and Sudha Bhardwaj.
It has also been reported that Gautam Navlakha was in touch with Hizbul Mujahideen and other Kashmiri separatist leaders. Navlakha had earlier attended events organised by Ghulam Nabi Fai who was sentenced to two years of jail by the US for concealing the fact that Fai’s organization, Kashmiri American Council (KAC), was funded by Pakistani Spy Agency, ISI, to deliberately tilt USA’s policy regarding Kashmir against India.
G N Saibaba, a professor of English in Ram Lal Anand College of the Delhi University, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Gadchiroli sessions court in 2017 for waging war against India for his Maoist links and involvement in anti-national activities. He was convicted under sections 13, 18, 20, 38 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
G N Saibaba was first arrested in May 2014 on charges of being a member of the banned CPI-Maoists plus providing logistics and carrying out recruitment for them. He was then provided bail for three months on 30th June 2015 in view of his worsening health. He was given bail again in August 2016, this time by the Supreme Court against the wishes of the Maharashtra Government, which thought freeing Saibaba would render him free to propagate his views and brainwash students.
In a report published in February 2016 it was reported that Saibaba had recruited as many as four JNU students to carry out Maoist related activists. Incidentally these students also belonged to the Democratic Students union (DSU), of which JNU student Umar Khalid is also a member.
What is the Bhima Koregaon Violence Case?
The event by the name of “Elgar Parishad” was organised to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon of 1818, wherein the Peshwas fought against the between East India Company. In the war, an army of Dalit soldiers had fought under the British forces against the Peshwa, the reason for the celebration by Dalits. In 2018, it was the 200 year anniversary of the war and extreme violence erupted over the matter.
Soon after, the case was transferred to the NIA. The Pune police had arrested a total of nine supposed “intellectuals” such as Sudha Bharadwaj, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, and Varavara Rao for inciteful speeches.