NIA charge sheets against alleged 8 urban Maoists on Bhima-Koregaon violence

NIA charge sheets against alleged 8 urban Maoists on Bhima-Koregaon violence

Mumbai : The “urban Maoists’’ gang who are trying to destabilise the system and disturb the caste and communal harmony in the country are in trouble! Eight such alleged “urban naxalites,” including prominent activists Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha and Delhi University associate professor Hany Babu were named by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday in a charge-sheet into the Koregaon Bhima violence. According to the NIA sources, activists Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap, Stan Swamy and Maoist leader Milind Teltumbde were also named in the charge-sheet for allegedly conspiring against the government by the anti-terror agency. Besides Milind Teltumbde, who is missing, all other named in the charge-sheet are in judicial custody. The charge-sheet was submitted before a designated court in Mumbai.

The Bhima Koregaon case dates back to January 1, 2018, the day of the bi-centenary celebrations of the Bhima Koregaon battle. The celebration was marred by violence leading to death of one person and injuries to several others. The investigation into the incident led to the arrest of several activists who they alleged had “Maoist links”. The police alleged that they funded the Elgar Parishad meeting on December 31, 2017, where inflammatory speeches were made, leading to the violence.

Those arrested on August 28, 2019, included writer and poet Varavara Rao, lawyer and activist Sudha Bhardwaj, academic and activist Vernon Gonsalves, and human rights activists Arun Ferreira and Gautam Navlakha. Among the persons who were charge-sheeted today include: Anand Teltumbde and his younger brother, Milind Teltumbde. Milind is a central committee member of banned CPI (Maoist). He is now underground and carries a reward of Rs 50-akh on his head. Anand Teltumbde is the brother-in-law of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi leader Prakash Amedbkar, who married the grand-daughter of Babasaheb Ambedkar. However, the NIA charge-sheet against the eight does not mention human rights activist Sudha Bharadwaj, who has been in jail since 2018.

She was arrested by Pune Police in the case along with Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in August 2018. It was revealed during the investigation that senior leaders of the CPI (Maoist) were in contact with the organisers of the Elgar Parishad event as well as the accused arrested in the case to spread the Maoist and Naxal ideology and encourage unlawful activities. The charge-sheet also didn’t mention about other arrested “urban naxalites,” such as Varavara Rao, Soma Sen and Surendra Gadling. Of them, Sen was a professor with the Nagpur University while Gadling is a Nagpur-based lawyer and Varavara Rao is a well-known Telugu poet.