The apex court stretched the house arrest for five rights activists till September 17. The five rights activists were accused of having Maoist links.

On 28 August, Maharashtra Police raided the homes of prominent activists in several states and arrested at least five of them with a suspicion for having Maoist link. The five rights activists include activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Ferreira, Telugu poet Varavara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha, for having a Maoist connection.

The petition by historian Romila Thapar and four others has challenged the arrest of five activists done by Maharashtra Police and even ignited outrageous protests from human rights defenders.

Last week, Maharashtra Police shared with the top court that the arrest of five activists was not undertaken for activists’ dissenting opinion or difference in their political or other ideologies but on the basis of incriminating material found at their homes and because of “serious criminal offences.”

The police also presented the evidence from laptops, pen drives computers, and memory cards of the activists found during raids and the evidence showed content which “was shocking and clearly implicating” and unveiled the truth that activists were not only active members of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) but also contributors in disrupting the peace of the society.

Police shared about the evil planning of the activists and said “The contents also clearly reflect the preparation, planning and coordination…to carry out a violence, planned ambush/rebellion against the ‘enemy’ (which is our country and its security forces),” in the court.

The police hammered the allegations and challenges made by the petition of activists and said that the court was not dealing with somebody’s freedom of speech, freedom of conscience or freedom to hold and express views.

The police objected to the extension of the house arrest of five activists as ordered by the supreme court and said that the accused had done substantial damage to influence the investigation.