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BJP govt crushing human rights, imposing undeclared emergency: Congress

The Congress on Thursday accused the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra of “crushing” human rights and imposing “undeclared emergency”, a day after five Left-wing activists were arrested for their alleged links to Maoists.

Congress general secretary in-charge for Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge also accused the governments of “terrorising and threatening” intellectuals.

He questioned the “delay” on part of the government agencies in probing killings of rationalists and intellectuals like Narendra Dabholkar (2013), Govind Pansare and M M Kalburgi (2015) and Gauri Lankesh (2017) in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

“Human rights are being crushed. Even if one speaks about human rights, he or she is arrested based on mere suspicion. Such people are terrorised, threatened. I say this is an undeclared emergency. People talk about emergency, but this is an undeclared emergency,” Kharge said.

Pune police on Wednesday raided the homes of prominent Left-wing activists in several states and arrested five of them — poet Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, trade unionist and lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj in Faridabad and Chhattisgarh and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha in Delhi.

The raids were carried out as part of a probe into a conclave — Elgar Parishad — held in Koregaon-Bhima on December 31 last year, which had allegedly triggered violence the next day.

Without naming the ruling BJP, Kharge said it talks about the freedom of speech which did not exist under its watch.

Referring to the deaths of the four rationalists, he alleged that those who took law into their hands were protected instead of being punished.

Kharge said the Congress would launch the first phase of its Jan Sangharsh Yatra on August 31 from Kolhapur in western Maharashtra to highlight the “plight” of the people under the BJP rule, the “governance failure” and the “scam” like the Rafale deal.

The yatra would culminate on September 8.

The second phase would begin on October 2, marking the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, he added.

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