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Case against Sudha Bharadwaj; who’s in jail for last 3 years

What is Default Bail that gave relief to Sudha Bhardwaj?
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Ground Report | New Delhi: Case against Sudha Bharadwaj; Trade unionist, lawyer, professor, writer, Sudha Bharadwaj was arrested on 28, 2018, in the Bhima Koregaon/Elgar Parishad case. On 1 January 2018, lakhs of Dalits gathered near Pune to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, won by the British forces against the Peshwa in 1818.

Five human rights defenders were arrested and the residences of Father Stan Swamy, including several others, were raided in a coordinated action by the Pune Police in different parts of India. Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha, and Arun Ferreira were arrested in different cities under several charges including terrorism-related charges.

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Case against Sudha Bharadwaj

Today is the birthday (1 November 1961) of Sudha Bharadwaj, who is in jail for the last 3 years in the infamous Bhima Koregaon case. She has been accused of having links with Maoist terrorist organizations. She and 15 other human rights defenders were also accused of conspiring to incite the Dalit community in connection with the violence that broke out in Pune’s Bhima Koregaon village in January 2018.

Bharadwaj has been in Mumbai’s Byculla Women’s Prison in pre-trial detention since August 2018, when she was arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

She was taken to Surajkhand police station and all her papers, as well as a laptop, were confiscated by the police. She was charged under sections 153 (a), 505, 117, 120 of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). As part of Janhit (a lawyer collective), she has worked in Chhattisgarh for 29 years as an advocate and as a civil rights activist against land acquisition.

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The violence in question took place during the Elgar Parishad, a Dalit commemoration of the anniversary of the battles won by Dalits against the Peshwas 200 years ago. upper-caste rulers). On 1 January 2018, the commemoration at Bhima Koregaon (near Pune) turned violent. Human rights defenders believe that the case against them has been brought to stifle voices of dissent, as all five are currently active in protesting the arrest of the others. Human rights defenders in India.

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The defenders will be kept under police surveillance in their respective homes till 6 September 2018 as directed by the Supreme Court of India. The court questioned the police’s decision to arrest human rights defenders nine months after the incident, pointing out that they were all respected citizens, and that “suppressing dissent” was detrimental to a democratic society.

Bhardwaj’s health and interim bail application

Sen and Kabir Kala Manch member Jyoti Jagtap along with Bhardwaj are lodged in Byculla Women’s Jail. After the outbreak of Covid-19, she had filed an interim bail plea before the special court on medical grounds that she has co-morbidities including diabetes, hypertension and is suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis.

On 14 February 2020, an order was passed to transfer the investigation of the Bhima Koregaon case to the National Investigation Agency court in Mumbai. The next hearing of the court is scheduled for 28 February 2020. Meanwhile, all the nine human rights defenders have been shifted to Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai.

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On 24 January 2020, The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government suddenly transferred the investigation of the Bhima Koregaon case from Pune Police to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a central agency in the state of Maharashtra. The move has been criticized by human rights defenders and raised serious concerns during the investigation.

A report in March 2021 by an American digital forensics firm  has raised questions about incriminating letters presented as evidence to implicate Bharadwaj and the other activists. The letters were found on an activist’s laptop which is thought to have been hacked.

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