The Maharashtra government on Wednesday opposed activist Gautam Navlakha’s request to make phone calls from prison, PTI reported.
Navlakha has been accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, which pertains to caste violence in a village near Pune in 2018. Sixteen persons were arrested for allegedly plotting the violence and were later accused of conspiring to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Navlakha, along with the other accused persons in the case, is lodged in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja Central Jail.
The state government’s counsel Sangeeta Shinde told the court that Navlakha cannot be allowed to make phone calls from prison as he was facing charges of terrorism. She placed a resolution passed by the government on March 25 before the court.
The resolution states that a coin box facility is available in Maharashtra prisons to allow inmates to make phone calls. However, ten categories of prisoners are not permitted to use the facility, according to the government. The first of these categories is that of undertrials facing charges of terrorism or conspiring against the State, Shinde told the High Court.
In the previous hearing on July 4, Navlakha’s lawyer Yug Mohit Chaudhry said that the accused persons were allowed to make phone calls for nearly two years amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Indian Express reported. He said that Navlakha was stopped from making calls since December, which was when physical meetings restarted in the prison.
Chaudhry said that the activist was not able to speak with his partner in Delhi and was also not able to call his lawyers from prison.