New Delhi: The wife of a lawyer arrested in connection with Bhima-Koregaon violence incident in Maharashtra moved the Supreme Court today seeking to intervene in a petition filed by noted historian Romila Thapar and others against the recent arrest of Left-wing activists by the Maharashtra Police for suspected links with Maoists.
The petition was filed by Minal Gadling, wife of lawyer Surendra Gadling, who was arrested on June 6 along with Head of English Department of Nagpur University Shoma Sen, Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale, activist Mahesh Raut and Kerala native Rona Wilson.
The Pune Police had arrested them for allegedly having close links with Maoists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). An FIR was registered under the Act in January and conspiracy charges were added in March.
Minal Gadling, in her petition, claimed that all the arrested five, including her husband, have been in a false and mala fide way implicated in the case even when there was no involvement on their part in any such activity.
“It is stated that all the five persons hold significant position in the society and have dedicated their lives for fighting social injustices. They are being targeted in this case for being voice of dissent, and for taking up battles against forces perpetrating injustice,” the plea said. Minal Gadling alleged that her husband was harassed inside the jail and as a result he had to be admitted to a hospital.
She claimed the medical reports were not handed over to her.
She also alleged that the prison authorities were not giving him any books to read nor allowing him to carry any law books which were allowed by the court.
The apex court had on August 29 ordered that the five human rights activists, arrested later in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, be kept under house arrest till September 6, saying dissent was the “safety valve” of democracy.
Prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao, activists Vernon Gonzalves, Arun Farreira, trade union activist and lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha were arrested by Pune police from their respective homes, on August 28, in connection with an FIR lodged there following an event — ‘Elgaar Parishad’ (conclave) — held on December 31 last year that had triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima village.
Thapar, along with, economists Prabhat Patnaik, Devika Jain, Satish Deshpandey and Maja Daruwala had moved the apex court against the arrest of these rights activists and got relief. Dhawale, a Dalit activist and editor of a Marathi magazine Vidrohi, was one of the organisers of the Elgar Parishad. It was organised to commemorate 200 years of the Koregaon Bhima battle on December 31 at Shaniwarwada.
According to the FIR registered at the Vishrambaug police station after the event, Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) activists had allegedly made provocative speeches leading to violence at Bhima-Koregaon.