House arrest of activists till September 6 : SC


NC Network, New Delhi

Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that the five human rights activists, arrested in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, should  be kept under house arrest till September 6, further adding that dissent was the "safety valve" of democracy. The five will now be kept under police watch and will not be sent to jail.Maharashtra police was questioned by  bench headed by Deepak Misra  as to whay these people were arrested by after nine months of the incident. "Dissent is the safety valve of democracy and if you don't allow these safety valves, it will burst," the bench, which comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.

In connection with the case the top court also issued notice to the Maharashtra state government and the state police on the case filed by five intellectuals, including historian Romila Thapar and economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devika Jain, against the arrest of the rights activists. The counsel, appearing for Maharashtra, raised the issue of maintainability of the plea, saying a "stranger" cannot seek relief for the activists who have already approached the high courts.

Prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao was arrested from Hyderabad, while activists Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Farreira were nabbed from Mumbai, trade union activist Sudha Bhardwaj from Faridabad in Haryana and civil liberties activist Gautam Navalakha was arrested from New Delhi.The Maharashtra Police had arrested them in connection with an FIR lodged there following an event -- 'Elgaar Parishad' (conclave) -- held on December 31 last year that had triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima village.

The bench has postponed the matter till 6th of September.

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