Activist Harshali Potdar denied anticipatory bail

A sessions court on Wednesday rejected the anticipatory bail application of activist Harshali Potdar, one of the organisers of the Elgaar Parishad conclave, in a case registered against her in MRA Marg Police Station for sharing an allegedly communal social media post.

Though the FIR had been registered against her in April last year, she had approached the court for pre-arrest bail only in August. The same month she had been granted interim protection from arrest by court and the order had come to be extended from time to time. On Wednesday, Additional Sessions Judge AA Nandgaonkar while rejecting the anticipatory bail application, vacated the order of interim protection.

In an FIR filed in January 2018 by a Pune resident, Potdar had been named along with members of cultural group Kabir Kala Manch and another member of Republican Panthers - an anti-caste group she is a part of, for allegedly sparking violence that led to the Bhima - Koregaon riots a day after the Elgar - Parishad conclave.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), the prosecuting agency in the Elgar Parisad-Bhima Koregaon case, has named her in its supplementary charge sheet filed in October last year, as an accused against whom charge sheet is not being filed.

The activist had been booked in the present case for sharing a Facebook post of one Mohsin Shaikh which criticised the government for targeting a particular community during the lockdown.

The shared post also allegedly blamed the government for vilifying the community for the spread of Coronavirus and said that a particular community should be targeted in retaliation.

Potdar was booked under Section 153A (1) (a) which pertains to promoting or attempting to promote enmity between different groups by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or visual representations.

The police had, while booking her, said that its social media lab that monitors such posts had noticed the post and intimated the MRA Marg Police.

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