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New Delhi: Jharkhand police on Friday, November 12 announced that they had arrested CPI (Maoist) leader Prashant Bose and his wife and alleged colleague Sheela Marandi in connection with the Elgar Parishad case and the alleged plot to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian Express reported.
Bose, secretary of the eastern regional bureau (ERB) of the banned outfit, CPI (Maoist), was among the 19 accused in the case on the basis of a document allegedly retrieved from accused Rona Wilson which purportedly detailed a plan to assassinate the Prime Minister and “wage war” on the nation.
The document allegedly made mention of one “Com Kisan” which is supposedly a reference to Bose’s alias “Kishan Da”. Bose had a bounty of Rs 1 crore on his head when he was apprehended, the Hindustan Times reported.
The Elgar Parishad, held on December 31, 2017, was a gathering of over 250 Dalit groups and non-profit organisations in Pune’s Shaniwar Wada to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon where the untouchable Mahar caste had joined hands with the British in order to defeat the Marathas in battle.
From 1927, the Mahar community, led by B.R. Ambedkar, began gathering at the site of Bhima Koregaon to commemorate the battle.
However, following 2017’s gathering, a violent clash broke out in the area and the Pune police began investigating the case. As per the chargesheet filed by the police it was alleged that the Elgar Parishad had been organised by members from the CPI (Maoist) group and had featured provocative and inflammatory speeches which directly led to the violence the next day.
Subsequently, the Pune police arrested several noted human rights activists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which included Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist Stan Swamy, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Rona Wilson among others.
The police’s chargesheet had specifically mentioned Bose and had accused him of hatching a “conspiracy to kill the Prime Minister,” and “procuring huge arms and ammunition as part of a larger conspiracy of waging a war” against the Indian state.
The document which was supposedly retrieved from Wilson was also used by the police to claim that the ERB of the CPI (Maoist) group had hatched the conspiracy and enacted it at 2017’s Elgar Parishad.
The case was transferred to the National Investigative Agency (NIA) thereafter.
Several rights activists and international organisations have said that the arrest of rights activists, lawyers and scholars in this case is questionable, and appears to be an attempt by the government to suppress dissent.