The Bombay High Court permitted civil rights activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj to visit her family in Bengaluru to attend post-funeral rites after her father’s death. Bharadwaj was arrested by Pune Police about a year ago for alleged links with Maoists in Elgar Parishad- Bhima Koregaon case.

Justice Sarang Kotwal allowed her two days of travelling time and two days of stay at her Bengaluru home. He added that the cost of her travel will be taken care by the state. Pune Police will now escort her to Bengaluru on August 17 after which the rituals are to be held on August 18 and 19 then she will be brought back by the Pune Police to the Yerawada prison on August 20.

Bharadwaj’s lawyer Yug Mohit Chaudhary notified the court that her father passed away on August 7. He then applied for a temporary bail so Bharadwaj could attend the final rites of her father. He argued in the court that she wasn’t able to attend her father’s funeral so at least she must be allowed to attend the 13th-day ritual and also stay with her daughter for a few days.

Pune Police’s Additional Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai also agreed for the police to escort her to Bengaluru on humanitarian grounds.

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Bharadwaj and the other accused, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves had moved the court seeking bail and the court will hear their plea on August 27. She has denied all links with Maoist organisations and conspiracies.

In February, the high court had reserved its verdict on the bail plea after several hearings and refused to announce a verdict on the proposed date. So now Bharadwaj and the other activists’ bail pleas are being heard all over again by Justice Kotwal.

Bharadwaj’s lawyer Yug Mohit Chaudhary notified the court that her father passed away on August 7. He then applied for a temporary bail so Bharadwaj could attend the final rites of her father.

In March this year, Bharadwaj was among the women honoured at this year’s Harvard Law International Women’s Day Portrait Exhibit. Bharadwaj has been working for the underprivileged sections of the society in Chhattisgarh for nearly three decades now. She was part of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, a labour organisation founded by the late Shankar Guha Niyogi. Her work included her to fight for land rights of the dispossessed marginalised and Adivasis.

Bharadwaj was arrested from her residence in Faridabad on in October 2018 and produced before the UAPA Special Judge KD Vadane in Pune on the same day. Bharadwaj, along with Gonsalves and Ferreira, was then sent to Police custody. As per Pune Police, Bharadwaj and the other activists were involved in some inflammatory speeches given at Elgar Parishad which led to Bhima Koregaon violence near Pune in December in 2017. It claimed that Elgar Parishad is a conclave allegedly backed by Maoists. It further stated that during investigation it found concrete links between Bharadwaj and Maoist organisations.

Picture credit: NDTV

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