REVOLUTIONARY Telugu poet and activist Varavara Rao has been taken away by the Karnataka Police from Yerwada jail in Pune into their custody in connection with a 2005 alleged Naxalite attack on the police in Pavagada taluk of Kolar districtin which nine of their personnel were killed. The police have implicated well known singer, Gaddar, along with Rao as a co-conspirator.
Rao was produced before a judicial magistrate in Pavagada court in Karnataka’s Tumkur district on July 4, 2019.
This will be the third case in which the veteran poet has been booked by the state. Rao was lodged in Yerwada jail in connection with the 2018 Bhima Koregaon riots, where he been struggling to obtain copies of the evidence against him.
“Just four days before the Venkatammanahalli (Karnataka) attack, on February 6 (2005), Saket Rajan, a Maoist leader in Karnataka and writer of the classic two volume history of Karnataka was killed in an ‘encounter’ in Chikkamagalur district in Western Ghats.
“Varavara Rao and Gaddar promptly went to Bangalore and denounced the encounter as fake and participated in Saket Rajan’s funeral. As police believed and propagated that the Venkatammanahalli attack was a revenge to the encounter, they thought it fit to include the names of Varavara Rao and Gaddar in the list of the accused,” N Venugopal, a close aide and associate of Rao told The Leaflet.
Nineteen people have already been tried and acquitted in the 2005 case. Rao has to date not been issued summons, nor has his statement been recorded by the police. Yet in the appeal filed against the acquittal by the state, the high court directed the police to arrest the “absconding” accused. It is in this connection that Rao has been taken by the Karnataka police to stand trial.
Rao has faced over 25 cases that have been foisted on him by the state; he has been an undertrial for seven years. Each time he has emerged unbowed and victorious.