Bhima Koregaon Violence: Activist Varavara Rao’s Temporary Bail Plea Rejected

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: April 30, 2019
Pune: A temporary bail plea of poet and activist, Varavara Rao, who is an accused in the Bhima-Koregaon violence, was rejected by a special court in Pune on Monday. Rao had applied for a bail from April 29 to May 4 for attending the funeral of his sister-in-law, who passed away on April 22, in his home-town, Hyderabad.

Rao had applied for bail in the district sessions court which was opposed by the prosecution that cited a letter by the Hyderabad Superintendent of Police (Special Intelligence Branch) to Pune's Joint Commissioner of Police that stated, “Considering seriousness of the crime, there is a possibility that accused may abscond if he is allowed attending the last rites of his relative.” It further added, “Moreover, there is a possibility of a serious attack on the police party, who will be deputed for an escort, by Naxals.”

The prosecution also informed the court that the letter stated that as per Hindu traditions and customs, there is no established procedure and norms to attend "pedda karma" (10th-day ritual) by the brother-in-law of a deceased who is survived by her children.

After hearing all the arguments, Justice Kishore Vadane rejected the temporary bail plea.

Rao was first arrested on August 28, 2018 for being one of the organisers of the Elgar Parishad event that was held on December 31, 2017 to mark the 200th  year of the Bhima Koregaon battle. The Pune city police claimed that incendiary speeches at this conference led to planned violence at Bhima Koregaon village on January 1 and 2, 2018, leaving one dead and several injured.

Along with  Rao, activists Sudha Bhardwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Gautam Navlakha were also arrested. However, the Supreme Court later asked the police to place them under house arrest.

On November 17, Rao was re-arrested by Pune police. The prosecution, in its submission, said that the accused (VV Rao) is an active member of the proscribed CPI (Maoist) and along with other accused, was involved in unlawful and terrorist activities, and that investigation so far had revealed that he was involved in raising and distributing funds to smuggle arms and ammunition.

In February, anticipatory bail plea of professor and activist Anand Teltumbde was also rejected.

Reportedly, people waving saffron flags, pelted stones at cars going towards the village near Pune on January 1. Two people accused of the violence – Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide – are Hindutva right-wing activists. Neither of them have been arrested so far.

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