Meanwhile voices across the social and political spectrum condemned the arrests made.
New Delhi: Asserting that democracy is all about dissent and the Constitution guarantees the right of dissent, the BJP on Wednesday said it there is a difference between dissent and disintegration and slammed the Congress president Mr Rahul Gandhi for not failing to differentiate between human rights activists and Naxals. Reminding the opposition party that it was their own leader and former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, who had termed Naxalism as the “greatest internal threat” to India, the BJP said the Congress has reached a new low and reduced itself to a fringe outfit by coming out in support of “tukde tukde gang.”
“Naxals are Naxals when you arrest them but they are human rights activists when we arrest them,” said BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra as he cited an affidavit filed during UPA rule, which mentioned about “activists and sympathizers of Maoists making repeated efforts to penetrate into urban areas” and front organizations run by Naxal and Maoists sympathizers in urban areas.
Meanwhile voices across the social and political spectrum condemned the arrests made. Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, in a tweet today, said he has no sympathy whatsoever for Maoism, but freedom of thought, belief and expression were fundamental rights in any democracy.
“To arrest activists who have neither committed nor facilitated violence is to betray our democracy. This is not the India that Gandhiji fought to free,” he said. Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav also strongly condemned the arrests.
“Anyone who defends human rights, raises concerns about atrocities against poor and condemn authoritarian regime is arrested in RSS’s New India. Remember, Fascism will not last longer,” he said in a tweet.
Actress and activist Ms. Swara Bhaskar condemned the arrests and raids, saying Indian jails were “only for writers, human rights activists and academics... And doctors who saved the lives of children.”
Leftist economist Mr. Prabhat Patnaik said the incident was a “sign of nervousness” of the government as it was loosing support of farmers, workers and among people at large.
Near simultaneous searches were carried out at the residences of prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Farreira in Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj in Faridabad, and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha in New Delhi.