Nagpur: The Gadchiroli district police on Thursday had taken custody of human rights lawyer and activist Surendra Gadling and the noted poet and Maoist sympathiser, Varavara Rao in a 2016 case of Naxal violence.
According to the Gadchiroli police, both were brought to Aheri court in Gadchiroli district and the district police got eleven days PCR for further interrogation to them. Varavara Rao and Gadling were arrested by the Pune police last year for their alleged links with Bhima-Koregaon violence that erupted on January 1, last year.
Of them, Gadling was arrested along with academician Shoma Sen from Nagpur in June last year while writer and activist Varavara Rao was arrested from his home in Hyderabad in August, for his alleged involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon violence in Maharashtra last year and for being a part of an alleged plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Rao’s name had cropped up in a letter seized by the police in June during searches on those arrested in connection with the Elgar Parishad event on 31 December 2017, to commemorate 200 years of the Bhima-Koregaon battle of 1818.
In the left intellectual circles, Varavara Rao is a big name and is known for taking strong stances against neo-liberalisation of the state. A prolific poet, he has over 15 poetry collections to his name and is also a founding member of the Viplava Rachayitala Sangham or Revolutionary Writers’ Association, popularly known as Virasam. The association was later banned by the Andhra Pradesh government.
Rao and Gadling were lodged in Yerawada jail following their arrests in the Elgar Parishad case, being probed by the Pune police.
Gadchiroli police had sought their arrest under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) over their alleged involvement in Surjagadh case of 2016 in which over 74 vehicles were burnt down around Surjagad hills in an alleged Naxal attack. The incident took place when 400 to 500 activists of CPI (Maoist) and their supporters attacked the facility of a local mining company and set the trucks and three earthmovers afire. Workers of the mining company were also held hostage for more than three hours by red rebels during the period.