Pune court defers hearing on activists Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen's bail pleas till September 14

Prosecution seeks postponement because ACP Shivaji Pawar, investigating officer in the case, is in New Delhi.

Updated - September 06, 2018 07:41 pm IST

Published - September 06, 2018 07:07 pm IST - Pune

 Pune police outside the residence of Adv. Surendra Gadling. File photo

Pune police outside the residence of Adv. Surendra Gadling. File photo

The sessions court in Pune on Thursday deferred till September 14 hearing on the bail pleas of human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling and Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen, who were arrested with three other rights activists on June 6 for their alleged links with the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the Bhima-Koregaon clashes.

The prosecution sought postponement before the court of special judge K.D. Wadane on grounds that Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Shivaji Pawar, investigating officer in the case, is in New Delhi.

Taking strong objection to the prosecution’s reasons, Mr. Gadling, conducting his own defence, alleged that it was merely indulging in delaying tactics that was tantamount to continual harassment of the arrested activists and denial of their rights.

“Wasn’t the prosecution aware that ACP Pawar would be absent for the hearing? This deliberate deferring of our bail hearings is a ploy on their part,” he alleged.

Denied books in jail, says Gadling

Mr. Gadling challenged the Yerwada prison authorities’ denial of books and other reading material to the arrested activists.

Ms. Sen and Mr. Gadling were arrested along with prominent Dalit activist-publisher Sudhir Dhawale, tribal activist Mahesh Raut and activist Rona Wilson during a multi-city crackdown conducted by a team of the city police ostensibly over the contentious ‘Elgaar Parishad’ organized on December 31 at Pune’s Shaniwarwada Fort and the Bhima-Koregaon riots that erupted the next day (January 1).

They were later booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

On August 31, Mr. Gadling’s wife, Minal, filed a plea in the Supreme Court in which she stated that five arrested activists, including her husband, were falsely implicated with mala fide intent in the case.

“All five persons hold significant positions in society and have dedicated their lives for fighting social injustices. They are being targeted in this case for being the voice of dissent, and for taking up battles against forces perpetrating injustices,” the plea said.

Ms. Minal Gadling further alleged that her husband was harassed inside the jail soon after his arrest, compelling him to be admitted to a hospital.

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