The Pune Police on Friday took into custody activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira hours after a Pune Sessions court rejected their bail pleas and applications seeking an extension of their house arrests for seven days. The period of their house arrests, as ruled by the Supreme Court, ended on Friday.
Gonsalves and Ferreira were taken into custody in Mumbai and will be produced before a court in Pune on Saturday, reported News 18. Gonsalves will be first taken to MIDC police station in Mumbai’s Andheri.
Ferreira and Gonsalves, along with activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha, were arrested on August 28 in connection with their alleged involvement in an event that preceded the violence at Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1. On Thursday, a Hyderabad court had extended the house arrest of Varavara Rao. The Delhi High Court had ordered Navlakha’s release from house arrest on October 1.
The Supreme Court had last month extended the house arrest of all five activists by four weeks. Five other activists – Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale – were arrested in June as part of the same investigation. They are also accused of having links to the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist).
A day after the second set of arrests, five citizens filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking their release. Later, an intervention application was also filed on behalf of the five activists arrested earlier. The Supreme Court decided not to order an inquiry into the arrests, and on Wednesday, declined an urgent hearing of a review petition challenging that verdict.
The Maharashtra Police have defended the arrests on the grounds that the accused were planning large-scale violence as part of the agenda of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). They had earlier claimed the activists were involved in the Elgar Parishad in Pune that was followed by the caste-related violence in Bhima Koregaon on January 1.