The Press release issued by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) stating that it has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about the arrest lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj, civil liberties activists, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Varavara Rao, has disclosed a pertaining fact that the NHRC had issued notice on June 29, 2018 to the Director General of Police (DGP), Maharashtra calling for a report in connection with the illegal arrests of five human rights defenders namely Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut by Maharashtra police in the month of June, 2018.
Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen and Sudhir Dhawale (from left to right)
The Commission’s press release issued today, August 29, 2018 states that it has not received report from the DGP of the State so far. They were arrested by the Pune City Police for having been suspected members of the banned Communist Party of India (CPI-Maoist) in connection with the ElgaarParishad held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31. The Commission had issued a notice after receiving a complaint from an NGO from Geneva alleging illegal of human rights activists.
Earlier, over 200 intellectuals, artists, academicians, lawyers, journalists, and students hadcome forward issuing a statement condemning the arrest and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all five human rights activists-SurendraGadling, Rona Wilson, SudhirDhawale, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut.