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Arrests Undermine Fundamentals Of Constitutional Democracy- Ex CJI Lodha

Lodha said, "The government’s actions are an attempt to suppress the dissenting voice and an attack on freedom of speech."

Former chief justice of India RM Lodha on Thursday strongly criticised the police action against five civil rights activists and lawyers. Another former judge of the Supreme Court P B Sawant also questioned the motive behind the arrests saying “the police are acting at the instance of the government”.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Lodha said, “The government’s actions are an attempt to suppress the dissenting voice.” He added that “the arrests were an attack on freedom of speech… and an act to undermine the fundamentals of Constitutional democracy”.

Author and activist Varavara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Fereira, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves were arrested by Pune Police on Tuesday alleging Maoist link to the Elgaar Parishad meeting in Pune a day ahead of the January 1 violence in Bhima Koregaon.

Justice P B Sawant, former judge of the Supreme Court and one of the organisers of the Elgaar Parishad meeting, asked, “Is there a law in the country? Is there democracy or the Constitution prevailing in this country? How do we evaluate this? The state and I have no doubt the central government is urging them on… They have become desperate and want to divert from all other news in the country.”

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