Bhima Koregaon Case: 16 Activists Arrested, One Killed

bhima koregaon case

The Bhima Koregaon Case is back in the headlines now. The death of the Jesuit priest and Tribal activist Father Stan Swamy has started all the uproar. He along with 15 others were arrested in the case.

16 civil rights activists including Father Stan Swamy and few intellectuals were arrested for last three years.

Problems faced by the Accused in Bhima Koregaon Case

All of us are aware that all kinds of amenities are given to hardcore criminals in the prisons in India. Ironically, Father Stan Swamy had to wait for two weeks to request for a sipper and a straw to drink water. He was suffering from old age related diseases and Parkinson’s disease.

The family complains that Father Stan Swamy was even denied a blanket. He contracted with coronavirus in the prison.

The police denied the request of the family of another accused, Gautham Navlakha, who is 70 years old, to give him his glasses. Another accused Vara Vara Rao faced many hardships as his health deteriorated.

However, he was given bail 6 months ago. Another activist, Sudha Bharadwaj, is suffering from health related problems.

Reason for their Arrest

Three years ago, violence erupted at Bhima Koregaon village, Pune. Lakhs of Dalits gathered to mark the 200th anniversary of a battle. A battle fought between the Dalit mahars and the Brahmin Peshwa rulers of the Maratha empire.

Immediately, the Maharashtra Police initially investigated Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide for instigating the violence. Ekbote was arrested for a brief period of time.

Surprise Arrests

Surprisingly, a few months later, the police claimed that the violence was instigated by activists and human rights lawyers. Unfortunately, all the accused had attended the Elgar Parishad. This is a program organized by Dalit and human rights groups in Pune.

To everyone’s surprise, the police connected the program as a Maoists organized one and arrested 16 human rights defenders, lawyers and scholars.

Charge sheet

A charge sheet was made, in which the accused were alleged to have ties with the Maoists and conspiring to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Moreover, they were accused of planning to procure arms and ammunition with an intention to wage was against the country.

All this was done when the BJP led government was there in Maharashtra. When the government changed the case was then given to NIA.

There are six senior citizens awaiting trial in the case. All of them have been denied bail at some point or the other.

Future of the Accused in Bhima Koregaon Case

On Tuesday, 6 July, an American Forensic agency reported a claim that incriminating evidence had been planted in one of the accused’s computer using a malware. The malware targeted the computer via emails allegedly copied in the emails of the accused.

Petitions of the Accused

Meanwhile all the 16 accused, repeatedly asserted that they are innocent. The charges were fabricated against them.

If the reports are used in their defense, then the police will lose the case.

Hence, the bail is not granted and the case is delayed to the accused. A trial is not fixed yet, as there are so many loopholes in the charges framed till now.

Petitions are filed by the accused but the trial seems to be too far.