The Supreme Court of India Friday deferred the hearings of the human rights activists who had been arrested in connection with alleged Maoist links, to December 3, ANI has reported.
On October 29, the apex court had stayed the Bombay High Court order that had put on hold a trial court decision granting more time to Maharashtra Police to complete the investigation against five accused.
On Thursday, the Pune police claimed in its chargesheet that the Elgaar Parishad, a one-day conference held in Pune on December 31 last year, was organised as per a plan by the banned CPI-Maoist, to mobilise Dalit groups and other organisations against the government of India.
Moreover, it alleged that the “inciting speeches” at the event “provoked the masses and aggravated violence” in Bhima Koregaon the next day, January 1, when thousands of people had gathered there to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.
The chargesheet names 10 accused, including activists Sudhir Dhawale and Rona Wilson, lawyer Surendra Gadling, professor Shoma Sen and former Prime Minister Rural Development fellow Mahesh Raut, all of whom were arrested on June 6. The other accused are Milind Teltumbde, Prakash alias Ritupan Goswami, Manglu, Deepu and Kishan alias Prashanto Bose, who are allegedly Maoist operatives “who are absconding”.
All 22 accused in the case have been booked under the stringent UAPA and sections of Indian Penal Code.
The chargesheet also accuses Dhawale, Raut, Sen and Gadling of channeling Maoist funds for Elgaar Parishad.
Police have booked 22 people in this case including five rights activists and lawyers Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Gautam Navlakha who were arrested on August 28. Police claim they are part of “the larger conspiracy” of the CPI (Maoist) to form a an”Anti Fascist Front” to overthrow the government of India.
These five were placed under house arrest for five weeks on the directions of the Supreme Court on September 28. Bharadwaj, Gonsalves and Ferreira were later arrested by police and are in judicial custody. Varavara Rao’s house arrest has been extended by three weeks. Navlakha and another activist, Anand Teltumbde moved Bombay High Court, saying their names should be dropped from the FIR. The High Court has extended the interim relief granted to them until the next hearing on November 21.
(with inputs from agencies)