Fergusson College student among 6 young Dalits held for Naxal 'links'
Chandan Haygunde Posted online: Sat May 07 2011, 02:00 hrs
Pune : The Bhosale family may still find it hard to believe that their
brightest and most educated member, attending one of the country's
topmost colleges, Pune's Fergusson College, is accused of being a
Naxalite. Siddhartha Bhosale, a Master's student in Economics, who
also took the entrance exams for becoming a Class I government
officer, was one of the six alleged Naxalites arrested by the the Anti
Terrorist Squad (ATS) near Chandwad in Nashik on April 29.
All the six are Dalits and the five arrested with Bhosale are young
Dalit women, three of whom are graduate students. The seniormost is
Angelo Sontakke, wife of Naxal leader Milind Teltumbde, who was
allegedly behind the February 2009 attack in Gadhchiroli that killed
about 15 policemen.
The other four: Sushma Ramteke alias Shraddha Gurav, arrested from
Pirangut in Pune; Mayuri Bhagat (23) alias Jenny; Jyothi Chorghe (19)
and Anuradha Sonule (23), all arrested from the Shivajinagar area of
Pune. Naxal literature, cash, a laptop, cellphones and other items
were seized from the suspects.
Bhagat, a native of Chandrapur, is a graduate in Arts who shifted to
Mundwa in Pune to work with Sontakke. Chorghe and Sonule, also Arts
graduates, stayed in a small room in Bhosari and allegedly worked as
couriers for the group's activity.
Bhosale, from Ahmednagar, lives in a small, rented house in Bhagyoday
Nagar, Kondhwa, in Pune. Police said he was trained in Gadhchiroli by
top Naxal operatives and was assigned the task of recruiting
youngsters from Pune and Nashik into the Maoist fold. Bhosale's arrest
and his brief, police said, has underlined their suspicion that the
Maoists are targeting colleges and institutions in urban areas to
recruit young cadres from Dalit or backward classes.
"It was a huge shock for us to when we got to know about his arrest.
He was a very sincere student, he used to read lot of books. He also
took the competitive examination of MPSC (Maharashtra Public Service
Commission)," said his elder brother Chandrakant, who works as a peon
in a village school.
"He was a very active young man and never tolerated injustice," his
brother told The Indian Express. "We could make out from the way he
talked that he was strongly against corruption. But he never just
thought of Dalits or backward classes. He was concerned about the
welfare of all. It was unbelievable when police told us that he was
linked to Maoists."
Said Chandrakant: "We are four brothers staying together in our rented
house. He used to stay out for a few days but not for long. He used to
contact us on phone when he would be away from home. We found he used
to stay with friends or relatives. We never questioned him as he is
the most educated among us and we believe he would never do anything
wrong." His younger brother Sagar said that they belong to the Mahar
caste, a backward community.
Investigators believe that Bhosale was "indoctrinated" to join the
Naxals and trained in Gadhchiroli a few months ago. He is also
believed to have been paid to recruit youngsters. Not without reason.
Ravindra Kadam, DIG (Anti Naxal operations), said that the Naxals'
"Golden Corridor Committee" was set up to target students and
labourers in industrial centres of Gujarat and Maharashtra, especially
in cities like Pune, Mumbai, Thane and Nashik.
Police said they are exploring how these young men and women are
linked to the Golden Corridor Group and how far this network spreads.
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