A Pune police team on Wednesday searched the residence of human rights activist Father Stan Swamy in Ranchi in connection with the Bhima Koregaon–Elgaar Parishad case and for his alleged Maoist links. This was the second time the city police raided his house in Ranchi’s Namkum area.
While electronic devices, including a hard disk and some
other materials, were seized, the 83-year-old activist was not taken
The Pune police were assisted by the Ranchi police in the search that lasted nearly three hours, said sources.
Ashutosh Sekhar, Superintendent of Police, Ranchi (Rural), told The Hindu, “The
search began after 7 a.m. and lasted nearly two-and-a-half to three
hours. The Maharashtra police team took some electronic material and
some documents. They will examine this material and decide on the future
course of action.”
The previous raid
were conducted by the police at Fr. Swamy’s residence on August 28 last
along with that of six other academics and activists known for their
dissentious views against the powers that be.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Swargate division) Shivaji Pawar, the investigating officer in the case, told The Hindu that
the police seized some electronic devices and other material from Fr.
Swamy’s house. “We have not taken him into custody. We conducted this
operation for gathering more evidence as a part of the ongoing
investigation in the case. The materials seized will be sent for probe,”
Fr. Swamy runs a school for Adivasi children and a
technical training institute in his residential premises. A vocal critic
of the Jharkhand government, he is known for his work among the tribal
people of the State through his NGO, Bagaicha.
In 2016, he
released an expose following a Jharkhand undertrials’ study, which
showed that an overwhelming majority of the tribal people languishing in
jails were falsely implicated and arrested for daring to protest
against the violation of their constitutional and human rights.
August 28 last, the houses of activists Sudha Bharadwaj, P. Varavara
Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha and Anand
Teltumbde were raided, along with that of Fr. Swamy as part of the
second crackdown by the Pune police on alleged ‘Maoist sympathisers’ as
part of their investigation into the Bhima-Koregaon clashes.
Four of them, including Ms. Bharadwaj, Mr. Rao, Mr. Gonsalves and Mr. Ferreira are now lodged in the city’s Yerwada Jail.
Last year’s crackdown
June 6 last year, the city police, in its first nationwide crackdown in
the case, arrested five activists, including Dalit publisher Sudhir
Dhawale, advocate Surendra Gadling, Nagpur University professor Shoma
Sen and activists Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson for their alleged links
with the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) and their roles in
the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ and the Bhima-Koregaon clashes.
sheets have been filed against a total 23 accused in the case on a
number of counts, including for alleged Maoist links, veering youths
towards Maoism and attempting to destabilise the State. The first charge
sheet, a 5,160 page indictment, was filed in November 2018 and the
second in February last.