[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n the case of the arrests of the five rights activists in the wake of the Bhima-Koregaon agitation, the currently incarcerated Advocate Surendra Gadling was remanded to judicial custody on June 25 till July 4. Gadling had been under police custody with an intermittent judicial custody because of sudden hospitalisation.
The other four — Sudhir Dhawle, editor of the Marathi magazine Vidrohi and a key organiser of the Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan, Professor Shoma Sen, the head of the Department of English, Nagpur University and a women and Dalit rights activist, Mahesh Raut, anti-displacement activist from Bharat Jan Andolan and a former Prime Minister’s Rural Development (PMRD) fellow and Rona Wilson, public relations secretary, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners — have also been remanded to magisterial custody on June 21 till July 4 by a city court in Shivajinagar.
However, the police have reserved their right to seek police custody of all five in the coming days.
Application was moved by the defence lawyers on the June 21 seeking following amenities:
- Cot and chair for Shoma Sen.
- Surgical/portable commode for Shoma Sen.
- Permission to give Surendra Gadling certain law books, such as criminal manual, UAPA bare act, IT bare act, cyber law commentaries, blank pages for taking notes, and four books of Swami Vivekanand, etc.
Nihalsing Rathod, a lawyer from Nagpur, in an email to The Leaflet said:
“Shoma Sen suffers from arthritis and although she is in medical ward she is not given a cot. Also there is no commode and she cannot crouch down owing to knee pain. This was opposed by the state vehemently despite the defense pleading that she is facing extremely uneasy condition and is ready to buy one at her own cost. It was opposed saying no special treatment can be offered. Eventually, the court passed an order saying prison authorities to act in accordance with prison manual. Had there been a provision in manual for such circumstance this would not have arisen. Her daughter will come to Pune tomorrow and will plead with prison authorities for supplying her such basic amenity.”
The Public prosecutor also vehemently opposed against permitting to provide books to Gadling. “Their strongest objection was against Swami Vivekananda books,” Rathod added.
He further said: “The public prosecutor argued that she wants to confirm if these books are banned or not. She also opposed other elementary law books. After hot exchange court allowed the application subject to verification of books by prison authorities. Today, after making me stand from 9 am till 1 pm prison authorities refused to accept the books saying Gadling already has two other books. Now we will have to file contempt and get the books delivered. It is very humiliating to treat lawyers in this manner.”
The next date of hearing is July 4.