Police in Maharashtra have begun a multi-city crackdown on urban Maoist sympathisers that led to the arrest of three prominent Dalit activists in both Maharashtra and New Delhi. The arrests were made in connection with a provocative speech in Pune in 2017 as per official sources.
Among those nabbed in the early morning operations include Sudhir Dhawale from Mumbai, advocate Surendra Gadling from Nagpur and Dalit activist Rona Wilson from New Delhi. Police teams have also raided the homes of other activists like Shoma Sen in Nagpur, and Mahesh Raut in Mumbai.
Last April the Pune police had raided homes and offices of these activists in different parts of the country and even questioned them for their involvement in various activities.
A senior journalist, Dhawale was the organiser of the Elgaar Parishad gathering on December 31, in Shaniwarwada, Pune. It was attended, among others, by Gujarat Dalit leader and MLA Jignesh Mewani, JNU student leader Umar Khalid, Chhattisgarh activist Soni Sori and Bhim Army President Vinay Ratan Singh.
The result of the gathering was a caste riot in the Koregaon Bhima village which left one dead. Bharipa Bahujan Mahajan Sangh leader Prakash Ambedkar and other parties on January 3 called for a Maharashtra bandh in response.
Following the violence, FIR's were filled against Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mevani for inciting caste violence.
With inputs for IANS.