The habeas corpus writ petition filed on behalf of human rights activist Sudha Bharadwaj in the Punjab and Haryana High Court was withdrawn on Wednesday, reported Bar and Bench. Bharadwaj is among the five activists arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case on August 28.
“The court asked counsel to withdraw the present habeas corpus petition with liberty to seek remedies as per law in the wake of the recent Supreme Court’s order, which gave the accused four weeks to take legal remedy,” advocate Ankit Agarwal, who had filed the petition for Bharadwaj on August 28, told The Hindu.
The petition had described the arrest as a “witch-hunt for unsympathetic political views”. Bhardawaj’s plea added that she was given arrest documents in Marathi, which she does not understand, and the First Information Report based on which she was arrested did not name her, both of which would mean the conditions for transit remand had been unsatisfied.
On August 29, five citizens filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking the release of Bharadwaj and the four other activists. The petition also sought an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team. But the top rejected this plea on September 28 and gave the arrested activists time to seek remedy from a lower court.
The Pune Police arrested Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Varavara Rao on August 28 as part of their investigation into violence during an event in Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1. The police had arrested five other activists in June – Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale. While these people are currently lodged in jail, those arrested in August were placed under house arrest.
The police claimed the activists were “urban Naxalites” who used an anti-caste commemoration event in Pune to whip up sentiments that resulted in the violence in Bhima Koregaon. This was part of a larger plot, the police claimed, to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and overthrow the government.