Former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Wednesday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for pushing the country towards ’emergency’ after the Pune Police swooped on known Dalit rights activists, human rights lawyer and journalist before arresting them.
“Modi ji is feeling frightened that he would be attacked. Nobody knows who will be arrested when. They are making way for emergency,” News18 quoted the RJD leader as saying. He was speaking to media at Patna Airport while on his way to Ranchi, where he is expected to surrender before the CBI on Thursday
“Modi ji has failed on all fronts. Intellectuals, writers and activists are being arrested and raided. Leaders of non-BJP parties are also being targeted and harassed over frivolous reasons. The BJP does not want to face the opposition in 2019,” NDTV quoted Yadav as saying.
Pune Police, which reports to the Maharashtra’s BJP government, on Tuesday had arrested lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj, Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao, and activists Arun Fereira, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves. But before they could take them to Pune, the petitioners for the arrested individuals had approached Delhi High Court, Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court to stop the Pune Police from getting transit remand.
Romila Thapar, historian and one of the petitioners, said, “Arrests should surely be of those who actually spread terror in society through assassination and lynching, and not of those who work for human rights – the rights that are essential to citizenship and democracy? Are these arrests a demonstration to show that the democratic rights of the Indian citizen have been annulled.”
The Pune Police have astonishingly accused the arrested activists and Maoist ideologues of plotting the assassination of Modi. They have, however, failed to support their allegations with credible evidence.
The Delhi High Court judge was visibly unhappy after the Pune Police on Wednesday failed to provide the translated copy of their arrest warrant, which was written in Marathi. The judge asked, “How can the court give a transit remand without understanding the paper. The question here is also of the legality of the transit order.”
The Delhi High Court judge, who was hearing the petition from Navlakha, added, “The legality of the arrest is in question. You cannot presume that the metropolitan magistrate can read Marathi.”
All five individuals will remain under house arrests until 6 September, when the Supreme Court hears their petition again.