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Bhima-Koregaon arrests: remand of activists extended

Pune: The Pune District and Sessions court on Thursday extended to June 21 the police remand of four of the five activists arrested for alleged Maoist links and for their role in organizing the ‘Elgaar Parishad’.

Judge J.D. Wadne, who passed the order, remanded the fifth accused, human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling, to judicial custody till June 21 on health grounds.

Four of those arrested — noted Dalit activist-publisher Sudhir Dhawale, tribal activist Mahesh Raut, Nagpur University English Professor Shoma Sen and activist Rona Wilson — were produced before the court late afternoon amid tight security.

Arguing for the extension of police custody, Special Prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar said that the investigation had definitively proved that the arrested “were involved in anti-national activities”.

“The accused have been charged with committing acts inimical to national security…the police need more time to examine the electronic material retrieved during searches at their residences,” said Ms. Pawar.

In his counter-arguments, advocate Tosif Shaikh, one of the defence lawyers, said that there was no justification for extending the remand as the police have “made no further progress since the arrest of the accused.”

“In the first place, the arrests of the five activists are in violation of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA),” he said later, speaking to The Hindu.

The Pune police ought to have first informed the State before invoking the Act, contended advocate Kumar Kalel, another defence lawyer.

Last week, Mr. Gadling was admitted to the Sassoon General Hosital after he complained of high blood pressure.

The authorities have said that Mr. Gadling’s condition is presently stable and that he had undergone medical tests.

All five arrested were booked under the stringent Act on June 6. Besides having links with top Naxal leaders, they were also charged with organizing the ‘Elgaar Parishad’, on Dec. 31 last year, and fomenting the Bhima-Koregaon riots, which occurred the next day.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 10:02:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bhima-koregaon-arrests-remand-of-activists-extended/article24166611.ece

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