A special court in Pune on Monday denied activist and poet P Varavara Rao’s bail application in the Elgar Parishad case, PTI reported. Rao had sought temporary bail to visit his hometown to perform the post-death rituals of his sister-in-law who died on April 22. Rao is currently lodged in a prison facility in Pune.

He had sought bail from April 29 to May 4.

Rao is among five activists who are accused of organising the Elgaar Parishad event to mark the 200th year of the battle of Bhima Koregaon on December 31, 2017. The Pune city police claim incendiary speeches at this conference led to planned violence at Bhima Koregaon village on January 1 and 2, 2018.

The prosecution on Monday cited a letter from Hyderabad Superintendent of Police (Special Intelligence Branch) to the Pune Joint Police Commissioner which claimed that Rao may “abscond if he is allowed attending the last rites of his relative”. “Moreover, there is a possibility of a serious attack on the police party, who will be deputed for an escort, by Naxals,” the letter added.

The prosecution claimed that no Hindu tradition demanded the presence of a brother-in-law to perform rituals if the deceased has children.

The Pune Police arrested Gonsalves, Ferreira, Rao and Bharadwaj in August last year. In February, they filed a supplementary charges against the four activists and Ganapathy. The police had filed its first chargesheet in the case at a special court for Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in November. It had named activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, all of whom were arrested in June 2019.