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Elgar Parishad case: The NIA’s arguments on the bail plea will be heard on December 1

elgar parishad, elgar, elgar parishad case, bhima koregaon, bhima, uapa, nia, national investigative agencyThe case has gone too far and many of them languished in jail under trials. Dr Anand Teltumbde, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, has sought temporary bail for 15 days, from December 4, after the death of his brother Milind, who was killed in an encounter with C60 commandos in Gadchiroli. A Special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court has directed the investigating agency to reply to the plea.

In the plea filed through advocate Neeraj Yadav, Teltumbde has mentioned that he is the eldest child of Bapurao and Anasuya Teltumbde and has four brothers and three sisters. He added that he comes from a family of respected repute and is married to Dr BR Ambedkar’s granddaughter. One of his youngest sisters has retired as a principal of a college in Nagpur.

The 71-year-old added that he came to know that his youngest brother Milind, also wanted in the Elgar Parishad case, was killed on November 13, 2021. He said the family had lost contact with Milind in the mid-1990s and he too had no contact with him since then.

Teltumbde has further stated that his mother is 90 years old and at such time of bereavement in the family, the applicant being the eldest in the family, not only his presence by the side of the mother and his siblings would be of great moral support, but also gathering of all family members would be a solace to each of them. Milind was accused of being in charge of Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh (MMC) Zone of the CPI (M) and was also cited as an accused in the Elgar Parishad case. The special NIA court judge Dr DE Kothalikar has posted the matter for hearing on December 1.

Meanwhile, Ramesh Gaichor and Sagar Gorkhe, are alleged to be members of the banned organisation Kabir Kala Manch. They were arrested by the NIA in 2020 and charged with sedition under the Indian Penal Code and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly giving inflammatory performances at the Elgar Parishad event organised in the heart of Pune city, which led to the riots at Bhima Koregaon in 2018.

Advocate Nihalsingh Rathod, appearing for both the accused, argued that the NIA had failed to make out a prima facie case under the stringent UAPA. “The allegation of the prosecution specifically against the duo was that they performed a skit in the Elgar Parishad event, which was about “peshwai” (rule of Peshwas) versus Lokshahi (democracy), and the script allegedly affected the peace and tranquillity,” said Rathod. Rathod submitted that the Elgar Parishad event which was supposedly the cause of the riots was an event organised for discussion on the anti-casteist ideology, but somehow the prosecution claimed that the event was to propagate ideas against the government.

He pointed to some of the cultural programmes that were presented at Elgar Parishad wherein a skit a woman’s monologue is about collective ‘samajik ladha’ (fight for a social cause) against the prevalent casteism in the society. The other speeches also were only criticising a political party, the BJP, which was the ruling party then and now. “I was merely saying that the party is casteist in nature. Where is the sedition in this? They are saying they will defend the constitution and democracy. I have every right to criticise the government. BJP-RSS do not constitute a country. They do not constitute a nation. They have taken a jibe against Modi, against his policies. How is this sedition?” Rathod argued.

He further stated that the only violent act which happened in the entire Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon episode was the riots, which was in fact alleged against other people and there was no investigation against them. Rathod re-emphasised that there was nothing to call Elgar Parishad a “terrorist act” or propagation of CPI (Maoist) ideology.

Rathod tried to give a copy of Parliamentary proceedings to court, however, Judge D E Kothalikar asked, “Can the court look at anything beyond chargesheet while considering bail?” Rathod said that there were citations in other cases to establish that it can be done.

He further argued, “Except for the comments I made against a political party, I am a critic of their political leader, spoken against their party and policies and I am very much within my right to do so and it is my duty. Apart from this, there is no case that is made out and I should be enlarged on bail.”


 

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