"I condemn those arrests in unqualified terms. No human rights activist should be arrested. For that matter, no Indian can be arrested without proper case.
"I defend the rights of everybody, more particularly human rights protesters. They are selfless NGOs, activists, who are obliged to fight the enveloping darkness of dictatorial tendencies," he told reporters when asked about the arrests of some activists by the Pune police.
Near simultaneous searches were carried out at the residences of prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Farreira in Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj in Faridabad, and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha in New Delhi.
Subsequently, Rao, Bhardwaj, Farreira, Gonzalves and Navalakha were arrested under IPC Section 153 (A), which relates to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place or birth, residence, language and committing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, said the official.