Timeline of Bhima-Koregaon Cases and Status in Court
- December 28, 2017: Desecration of shrine at Vudhu Budhruk village near Bhima-Koregaon which commemorates Govind Gaikwad, a Dalit (Mahar) icon. FIR filed against the desecrators (groups linked to the RSS and Hindutva movement. which included a named individual, Milind Eknote a well-known Hindutva leader).
- December 29, 2017: Call for a bandh against Dalits by same groups and individuals
- December 31, 2017: Elgaar Parishad held in Pune
- January 1, 2018: Tens of thousands of Dalits visit Bhima-Koregaon to mark 200th anniversary of memorial to Mahar soldiers. Some clashes between Hindutva groups and some Dalits occur in which 1 person was killed. Subsequently, large protests by Dalits in Mumbai. Police crackdown and arrests of many Dalits. No arrest of any named Hindutva individual.
- June 8, 2018: Pune police arrest Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen & Mahesh Raut under the Unlawful Acts (Prevention) Act or UAPA for their alleged participation in the Elgaar Parishad, alleged activities linked to the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and an alleged assassination plot against the Prime Minister. Under the UAPA, police have 90 days to file a chargesheet.
- September 2, 2018: 2 days before the deadline of 90 days was to expire, a special court in Pune granted an extension of another 90 days to the Pune police
- October 24, 2018: Bombay High Court quashes the Pune special court order
- October 29, 2018: Supreme Court Stays Bombay High Court order
- November 15, 2018: Chargesheet filed (5000+ pages)
- August 28, 2018: Raids by Maharashtra police on homes of Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao and attempt to arrest them under the Unlawful Acts (Prevention) Act or UAPA under which police have 90 days to file a chargesheet. The homes of two others – Anand Teltumbde and Stan Swamy – were also raided.
- August 29, 2018: Five eminent persons (historian Romila Thapar, economist and Padma Bhushan awardee Devaki Jain, sociologist Satish Deshpande, economist Prabhat Pattnaik, and barrister and executive director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Maja Daruwala) filed a petition in the Supreme Court complaining about the highhanded action of the Maharashtra Police in raiding the homes and arresting five well known human rights activists, journalists, advocates and political worker, with a view to kill independent voices differing in ideology from the party in power and to stifle the honest voice of dissent. They complain that the five activists, namely, Gautam Navalakha, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves were arrested on 28th August, 2018 from their without any credible material and evidence against them justifying their arrest…This action was to silence the dissent, stop people from helping the poor and downtrodden and to instill fear in the minds of people and was a motivated action to deflect people’s attention from real issues. The petitioners have made it clear in their petition that they were seriously concerned about the erosion of democratic values and were approaching this Court “not to stop investigation into allegations” “but” to ensure independent and credible “investigation into the arrest of stated five human rights activists.” They claim that anything short of that relief will damage the fabric of the nation irreparably [Link]
- August 29: Supreme Court – unsatisfied with the merits of the case – orders that all of five to be only placed under house arrest until September 6. It then extends house arrest until September 12, and then again until September 17 and 19.
- September 28, 2018: Supreme Court (by a 2:1 vote) refuses to interfere with arrests and does not comprise a Special Investigation Team. Extends house arrest for four more weeks. Dissenting opinion by Justice Chandrachud: “Dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If dissent is not allowed, then the pressure cooker will burst.”
- October 27, 2018: Pune police put Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves in police custody; Maharashtra police take Sudha Bharadwaj into police custody; Navlakha gets reprieve until November 1 as per Bombay High Court
- November 17, 2018: Varavara Rao taken into judicial custody
- November 23, 2018: Pune police seek extension of another 90 days to file supplementary chargesheet against five arrestees
- December 3, 2018: Supreme Court directs Maharashtra government to show chargesheet
- December 15, 2018: Bombay high court extended relief from arrest to Navlakha until January 16, 2019, and to Teltumbde until December 17, 2018. Stan Swamy’s petition rejected. The three had filed a petition to quash an FIR filed by Pune police naming them.
Please share this widely