Arrest Hindutva perpetrators of Bhima Koregaon violence, demands NCDHR

The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), India’s well-known Dalit rights network, condemning “the efforts of Maharashtra government to persecute” activists across India, has qualified the move “malafide” and “motivated” in order to “obstruct the legal and human rights work being carried out by them.”
“The current arrest and raids have taken place in the backdrop of the arrests of five human rights activists – advocate Surendra Gadling, Professor Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut and Sudhir Dhawale – who were also arrested under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on 6th June 2018, relying on a similar fabricated letter produced by Republic TV allegedly addressed to the same ‘Comrade Prakash’, in the same Pune case”, the statement says.
Calling them “a systematic abuse of the legal process by the Government to malign the human rights activists and advocates over the past couple of months”, the statement says, “The motivated actions against them fit neatly into the present Government’s concerted campaign against marginalized and oppressed sections of society and any person, whether students, activists, academics or individuals who question the policies, actions and the abuse of power by the government.”
Demanding withdrawal of all charges against them, NCDHR says, “These human rights defenders are being targeted for their work to ensure justice in the case of Bhima Koregaon violence where the prime accused are associated with the Hindutva right-wing groups.” At the same time, it has demanded that the government should stop shielding the two main perpetrators Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, accused of inciting the Bhima Koregaon violence.
The statement has been signed by NCDHR’s N Paul Divakar, Chairperson, Asia Dalit Rights Forum; VA Rameshnathan, General Secretary, National Dalit Movement for Justice; Asha Kowtal, General Secretary, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, and Beena Pallical, General Secretary, Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan.

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