Bhima Koregaon arrests: Hearing adjourned till Sep 17, activists to remain under house arrest

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The Supreme Court of India adjourned the hearing of the Bhima Koregaon case in which five activists had been arrested in alleged connection with a Maoist plot to kill Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The activists will continue to remain in house arrest.

The apex court was hearing a petition filed that challenged the arrests. Both sides have asked for more time to file additional documents. An intervention application was also filed on behalf of five activists arrested in June – Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale.

Earlier, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra took offence on Assistant Commissioner of Police of Pune’s statements and said that he was casting aspersions in court.

Justice D Y Chandrachud criticised the Maharashtra Police for holding a press conference told the government to direct its police to be more responsible when the matter is in the court. “You must ask your police officials to be more responsible. The matter is before us and we don’t want to hear from police officials that the Supreme Court is wrong,” the bench told Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for Maharashtra government.

Mehta said the court will realise the harm the arrested could have caused if it examined the material seized by Pune Police. He added that keeping the activists under house arrest may hamper the investigation in the case.

ALSO READ: Bhima-Koregaon arrests: IIT-Kanpur alumni faculty demand ‘immediate release’ of Sudha Bharadwaj

Reports were also dismissed about the activists being held for dissent.

Earlier on August 28, Pune police teams raided the houses of activists in Mumbai, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Delhi and Faridabad and arrested five in alleged connection to a Maoist plot, PTI reported.

Activist Sudha Bhardwaj from Faridabad, Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Gautam Navlakha from Delhi, Arun Pereira and Venon Gonsalves from Mumbai have been detained by the police.

The Maharashtra Police defended the arrests of five human rights activists who had been arrested in alleged connection to ‘Maoist links’ before the Supreme Court of India by saying that the investigation was based on “cogent evidence”.

The defense was in response to a plea which had been filed by Romila Thapar and four others. The police accused the activists of planning to carry out violence, planned ambush against country and security forces.

“Activists not arrested because of their dissenting opinion, there is sufficient material to dispel this impression,” the Maharashtra Police said.

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