A local court in Pune has rejected the bail applications of human rights activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira . All the activists are currently under house arrest in relation to an FIR filed by the Maharashtra Police for alleged Maoist links in the Bhima-Koregaon violence which took place on January 1, 2018.
According to a legal news site Live Law, the special judge of the UAPA court rejected the applications as they observed that material collected by the investigating officer, prima facie, pointed to their involvement in the violence.
Along with the three activists, police also arrested Varavara Rao in Hyderabad and Gautam Navalakha in New DelhiBharadway, Gonsalves and Ferreira were all arrested for their alleged link with the Communist Party of India (CPI Maoists), the Elgar Parishad and for their involvement in the violence. According to media reports, the defence counsel has decided to move the Bombay High Court against the order of the Pune Court.
On January 1, lakhs of people had gathered in the area to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. Many Dalit and Bahujan groups collectively organised a public conference in the name of Elgar Parishad at Shaniwar Wada. The agenda of this conference was evidently against Hindutva politics as this was done by showing Hindutva politics in the form of neo-peshwai (new Peshwas). Jignesh Mevani and Prakash Ambedkar were invited.
This set stage of Dalits against Hindutva which led to the cause being politicised particularly after the Una violence in Gujarat, has been a cause of concern for those who propagate the latter.
The Elgar Parishad too played a role in it by consolidating their apprehensions against the politicised Dalits. The new political equation of the Dalits by bringing Hindutva and Pehswai on the same stage has irked the right-wing forces and was one of the reasons behind the conflict that Pune witnessed in January.