A special National Investigation Agency court in Mumbai on Monday allowed activist Jyoti Jagtap to receive five educational or general books every month inside the city’s Byculla prison, PTI reported.

Jagtap, a member of cultural organisation Kabir Kala Manch, is among the accused persons in the Elgar Parishad case. She has been in prison since September 2020.

National Investigation Agency Judge Rajesh J Kataria passed the order on Monday and it was made available on Tuesday.

The activist, in her petition, said that she has completed a Master of Arts degree in psychology and wants to receive some books in prison. The prosecution had opposed the petition, saying that she had not provided the names of the books she wanted to receive, according to PTI.

However, the judge allowed the petition, and directed the jail superintendent to verify the books before handing them over to Jagtap. If the books contained any objectionable material or had any material related to banned organisations, the official should not allow her to receive the books, the order said.

The case

The Elgar Parishad event took place in Pune on December 31, 2017, a day before violent clashes broke out between Maratha and Dalit groups near the village of Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra. Sixteen people were arrested for allegedly plotting the violence.

While Dalit groups and individuals have accused Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide of instigating the violence through hate speeches before the incident, the focus of the National Investigation Agency has been on the Elgar Parishad event being part of a larger Maoist conspiracy to stoke caste violence, destabilise the Central government and assassinate the prime minister.

Apart from Jagtap, the other activists accused of involvement in the case are Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor.

Bharadwaj and Rao are currently out on bail. Another accused person, Jesuit priest Stan Swamy, died at a hospital in Mumbai while in custody.