Elgaar Parishad Case: Pune police arrest activists after court rejects bail pleas

Oct 27, 2018, 08:39 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

The Elgaar Parishad was held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017 to mark the 200th commemoration of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, following which large scale violence was witnessed at Bhima Koregaon on January 1

Elgaar Parishad Case: Pune police arrest activists after court rejects bail pleas
Vernon Gonsalves (left) and Arun Ferreira

After Pune District Special Judge Kishor Vadane, on Friday, rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of three activists under house arrest for their involvement in the banned CPI (Maoist) party and in the Elgaar Parishad that triggered the violence at Koregoan Bhima earlier this year, police arrested two of them - Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira. Sudha Bharadwaj will be arrested today.

Judge Vadane, while rejecting the bail plea, observed that "the alleged act of the accused may transcend the frontiers of the locality and include anti-national activities which pose a challenge to the very integrity and sovereignty of the country and its democratic policy".

The Elgaar Parishad was held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017 to mark the 200th commemoration of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, following which large scale violence was witnessed at Bhima Koregaon on January 1.

Based on a complaint filed by businessman Tushar Damgude, Vishrambaug police station on January 8 had registered a case against the organisers of the Elgaar Parishad - Harshali Potdar and Sudhir Dhawale of Republican Panthers (RP), Mumbai and Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap and Deepak Dhengle of the Pune-based Kabir Kala Manch (KKM).

The Pune police has conducted search operations at the residences of left wing activist and poet Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, Vernon Gonsalves who was arrested under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 2007, activist Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, trade unionist Sudha Bharadwaj and human rights activist Gautam Navalakha in Delhi along with others across the country. The police had also arrested Nagpur-based lawyer Surendra Gadling, Mumbai-based Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale and New Delhi-based Rona Wilson in this regard on June 6.

District government pleader Ujjwala Pawar argued that a custodial interrogation of the accused is required since "the police have carried out searches of their houses before making allegations and very crucial letters and clues have been recovered."

Defence lawyers Rahul Deshmukh and Siddharth Patil, on the other hand, argued that the accused are "being falsely implicated in the case." Meanwhile, Gautam Navlakha has moved the High Court to quash his name from the case while the bail applications of Gadling and Sen will be heard after November 1.

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