Pune-based businessman Tushar Damgude, who had lodged a first information report in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence that led to the arrests of several human rights activists, on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking to be made a party in a petition it is hearing against the arrests.
Damgude said in his petition that since he was the original complainant in the case, he should be included in the hearing, PTI reported. The Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said on Tuesday that they will hear Damgude’s petition on September 6.
Damgude’s complaint, which the police filed as a first information report on January 8, claimed the violence that marred a Dalit commemoration at Bhima Koregaon on January 1 was instigated by leftist activists with alleged Maoist links who had spoken at a public meeting called Elgar Parishad the previous day.
Acting on his complaint, the Pune police raided the homes of seven activists across the country in April. Two months later, on June 6, the police arrested five activists – Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson – from Mumbai, Nagpur and Delhi. Labelling them “urban Maoist operatives”, the police claimed to have found evidence that they were plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On August 28, the police raided 10 more activists and arrested five of them – Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao and Sudha Bharadwaj. The Supreme Court stayed the arrests and ordered them placed under house arrest until September 6. The court passed the order after historian Romila Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpandey and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala filed a petition seeking the immediate release of the activists and an independent investigation into their arrests.