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Sudha Bharadwaj’s interim medical bail plea rejected

Sudha Bharadwaj is lodged in the Byculla jail.   | Photo Credit: Jignesh Mistry

An interim medical bail plea filed by Elghar Parishad accused, advocate and trade unionist Sudha Bharadwaj, was on Friday rejected by a special court.

Also read: Elgar Parishad case | Gautam Navlakha taken to Mumbai a day before his bail hearing in Delhi HC

Ms. Bharadwaj is lodged in the Byculla jail, where an inmate has tested positive for COVID-19. The jail has another accused in the case, Shoma Sen. She is incarcerated along with Sheena Bora murder accused Indrani Mukerjea.

Ms. Bharadwaj's bail plea says, “she belongs to the most vulnerable category facing high fatality rate should she contract coronoavirus. If she continues to remain in incarceration, there is grave danger to her life as she has diabetes and high blood pressure.”

The seven-page application also states, “Despite measures taken by Byculla Jail their own jail doctor has tested positive for Covid-19 along with another inmate. This most alarming news only indicates that inmates with co-morbidities are not safe inside and therefore there is grave danger to the Applicant’s health inside. This danger has been acknowledged by Jail Superintendents themselves who have asked that temporary bail be granted even in serious offences to help decongest the prison”.

Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Shetty, appearing for the National Investigation Agency, opposed the bail saying Ms. Bharadwaj had been charged with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. This had not been included by the High Powered Committee for granting bail or parole. Therefore, these benefits did not apply to her. He also said that she was 58 and as per medical reports, she was stable.

Special judge DE Kothalikar heard the arguments on Thursday and rejected the plea.

In April 2018, the Pune Police conducted raids and carried out seizures across the country. After two months, they arrested Dalit activist and writer Sudhir Dhawale; Mahesh Raut, a Tata Institute of Social Science alumnus known for working for tribals in Gadchiroli; prof. Shoma Sen, a retired professor of Nagpur University; and activist Rona Wilson. They are all in judicial custody. The police were silent for two months and started raiding and arresting people in August 2018, including poet Varavara Rao and activists Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Ms Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 11:28:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sudha-bharadwajs-interim-medical-bail-plea-rejected/article31704092.ece

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