In a stunning twist to the January 1 Bhima Koregaon agitation in Maharashtra, a JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) angle has now emerged. The public prosecutor on Thursday asked the court to extend police custody of Dalit activists, arrested on June 06, by 14 days. “This is no less than an organised crime syndicate,” said the prosecutor Ujjwala pawar.
- Pune court extends the police custody of the four accused till June 21.
- They were allegedly involved in planning and executing a lecture series in JNU.
- A lecture series in memory of slain Naxalite Naveen Babu, who was killed in a police encounter, was organised in JNU.
The police on Thursday told the Pune Sessions court that the four accused, arrested in connection with Bhima Koregaon violence, were allegedly involved in planning and executing a lecture series in JNU in Delhi “in the memory” of a Naxal, who was killed in a police encounter, to instigate students to join the proscribed CPI (Maoist) outfit.
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Saying that Rs 80,000 cash was found at one accused Rona Wilson’s house, the PP added that the documents are sufficient for the further custody of the accused. He further said that the accused were actively wooing JNU students and using provocation as a tool to lead them to join the banned organisation.
The court extended the police custody of four of them – Committee for Release of Political Prisoners activist Rona Wilson, Republican Panthers Jati Antachi Chalwal activist Sudhir Dhawale, Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen, and former Prime Minister Rural Development (PMRD) Fellow Mahesh Raut till June 21, PTI reported. Lawyer Surendra Gadling, who is the fifth accused, is in a hospital after he complained of cardiac problems. He has been remanded to judicial custody and lodged in Yerwada Jail.
“Taking the lecture series in JNU, enticing students by giving provocation to join the banned organisation is a deep-rooted conspiracy and is a big threat to national security,” she said.
“Documents (seized during the searches) establish that all these accused were involved in anti-national activities. It is very crucial to investigate their role in the execution of the programme and that is why further police custody is necessary,” said prosecutor.
As per the district prosecutor, the accused were operating under direct instructions from the CPI (Maoist), to “instigate, provoke and influence” the students to join the left-wing terrorist organisation. The prosecutor also claimed that the CPI (Maoist) was going to supply materials for the event.
Those arrested included Sudhir Dhawale, lawyer Surendra Gadling, Rona Jacob Wilson, and Mahesh Raut. As per the Maharashtra Police, those arrested had organised the Elgaar Parishad in Pune on 31 December 2017, a gathering at the iconic Shaniwarwada premises where a number of provocative speeches were given and possibly incited and caused the violent and casteist riots the next day (on 1 January) at Bhima Koregaon, also in Pune district.