Sagar Gorkhe (second from left) and Ramesh Gaichor outside the court.
Sagar Gorkhe (second from left) and Ramesh Gaichor outside the court.

Mumbai: After around 10 days spent in the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) custody for interrogation, Kabir Kala Manch members Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap have been remanded in judicial custody till 3 October by a special court on Saturday.

While Gorkhe and Gaichor had been arrested by the central agency on 7 September, Jyoti Jagtap, who is Gaichor’s partner, was arrested the following day. Initially, the court had granted their custody to the NIA till 11 September, the custody was then extended up to 19 September.

On Saturday, Gorkhe and Gaichor made a plea before the special NIA court seeking to allow them to carry books inside the prison. Their advocate Nihalsing Rathod told the special judge DE Kothalikar that the accused are activists and have a keen interest in reading and writing. He assured the court that the books do not contain any incriminating material.

They were allowed to carry 14 books as stated in their plea, mentioned by the court - these included books by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Amrita Pritam and Satyajit Ray.

The court, in its order, said that considering the reasons stated in the application, applicants are allowed to carry books… after the prison authority is satisfied that the books do not contain incriminating material.

The court also allowed Gorkhe to carry some writing material - two A4 size notebooks, full scape papers, 20 envelopes and a writing pad.

The court, however, said, “Needless to say that if the prison authority finds that the books contain incriminating material it shall not allow the accused to bring the same in prison.”

The NIA has accused the cultural activists of Naxalite activities and Maoist links and has called Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) a frontal organisation of the banned CPI (Maoist). KKM, an organisation which uses street plays, protest poetry and songs to raise issues faced by farmers, Dalits and other marginalised sections, has denied these charges.

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