Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday that while people can believe in different ideologies, the government cannot allow anyone to promote violence. Singh, speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, dismissed allegations that the Pune Police arrested five activists in August without doing their homework, or that the arrests were linked to their ideology.
The home minister said that if it was so, the Supreme Court would not have given the police “a free hand”.
Activists Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao, who were held in August as part of an inquiry into violence during an event in Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1, are currently under house arrest. Five others arrested in June were Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale. The top court had on September 28 allowed investigation officers to continue with their inquiry into the Bhima Koregaon violence earlier this year, and also extended the house arrest of the activists by four weeks.
On Friday, Singh said that the Centre has succeeded in containing most Maoist activity to 52-53 districts in the country, compared to 126 in 2014. But, he alleged, attempts were being made to push the Maoist ideology and support of violent means to urban areas. Singh said the government cannot allow this to happen.