Mumbai: The Colaba police on Monday filed a chargesheet against 36 persons including activists, lawyers, academicians, artists and students for their peaceful protests in January this year against the violence in JNU. The protest was against the mob attack in JNU on students and teachers who were protesting against the hike in university's fees.
Prominent among those who were named in the 145-page chargesheet include activist Feroze Mithiborewala, senior advocate Mihir Desai, Dalit-cultural activist Sambhaji Bhagat and activist Jatin Desai. Cultural activist Suvarna Salve who was booked by the MRA Marg police for a rally from Hutatma Chowk to Gateway has also been named in the chargesheet.
The police have charged them under provisions of the IPC pertaining to unlawful assembly and violation of prohibitory orders. On Monday, 29 of the 36 persons remained present before the Esplanade magistrate court. On a plea to continue the bail granted to them by the police, the court continued their bail on executing a PR bond of Rs. 10,000. The bail was procedural after filing of the chargesheet as the accused were never arrested and taken in custody.
The Colaba police said that due to the pandemic and lockdown, filing of the chargesheet had got delayed. While the FIR had named over 60 persons and 350 unidentified persons, the chargesheet has named 36 as accused – all activists, lawyers, academicians, students and activists. “All are civilians without any criminal antecedents,” said advocate Lara Jesani, who is among those named in the chargesheet.
“Media reports have said that tens of thousands had attended the spontaneous protests. Selectively only a few persons were booked, mostly activists,” she said. Lawyers Mihir Desai and herself, who had gone to release those who had been detained by the police, were also booked, she added.