The Bombay High Court on Tuesday rejected a bail application filed by activist Jyoti Jagtap, one of the accused persons in the Bhima Koregaon case, Bar and Bench reported.

Jagtap, who is a member of cultural organisation Kabir Kala Manch, has been in prison since September 2020. On Monday, a bench of Justices Ajay Gadkari and Milind Jadhav rejecting her bail plea, observing that the case filed against her by the National Investigation Agency was prima facie true.

The activist, in her petition, had said that she is an artist from a marginalised section of society and had worked with several non-governmental organisations. She also pointed out that she had not been named in the first chargesheet filed in the case by the Pune Police, Live Law reported.

Jagtap also contended that when the case was transferred to the NIA, the central agency had not found any new information against her that would warrant her arrest.

Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency had told the court that the Kabir Kala Manch was a frontal organisation of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). However, Jagtap’s lawyer Mihir Desai argued that not everyone who was member of the frontal organisation was a part of the main organisation.

Senior Advocate Anil Singh, representing the NIA, told the court that Jagtap had met co-accused person Milind Teltumbde at the Korchi village in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district. The agency alleged that she underwent training on the use of weapons and explosives there.

The NIA also said that Jagtap had attended a meeting with the organisers of an Elgar Parishad event that was held in Pune in December 2017. The central agency alleged that the activist, along with other accused persons, undertook efforts to bring together a crowd of Dalits to create hatred against the government.

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.