Elgar Parishad accused activist granted bail, NIA to move SC
The Bombay High Court on Friday granted bail to Anand Teltumbde, a scholar-activist accused in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case. Teltumbde surrendered to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in April 2020 and has been in jail since. The case relates to the Elgar Parishad conclave on December 31, 2017, which was followed by violence on January 1, 2018, in Bhima Koregaon village in Maharashtra.
Why does this story matter?
- The case is prominent as leading lawyers, activists, artists, and scholars were accused of instigating the violence that broke out in the Bhima Koregaon village on January 1, 2018, a day after they allegedly delivered "provocative speeches" at the Elgar Parishad conclave.
- Among the 16 accused persons in the case, many have repeatedly raised their voices in support of the rights of prisoners.
Bombay HC grants bail to Teltumbde
The Bombay HC granted bail to Teltumbde against a Rs. 1 lakh surety bond. However, the order has been stayed for a week after the NIA sought time to move to the Supreme Court to ensure Teltumbde doesn't walk out of jail. He's currently lodged at the Taloja Prison, Navi Mumbai. Teltumbde approached the HC as a special court refused him bail in 2021.
The accused denies involvement in the case
In his bail plea, Teltumbde claimed he was not present at the Elgar Parishad event held in Pune in December 2017. The activist asserted he did not make any speech at the event, as police say that "provocative speeches" supported by the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) made at the event led to violence in Bhima Koregaon near Pune the next day.
Teltumbde was the third to be granted bail
Before Teltumbde, two other accused persons in the Elgar Parishad case were granted bail, including a woman lawyer. P Varavara Rao, an activist-poet, was granted bail considering his age and health. He was arrested along with four others on August 28, 2018, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Sudha Bharadwaj, a lawyer and trade union activist, got default bail in December 2021.
What is Elgar Parishad, accused of triggering violence?
The Elgar Parishad event was held on December 31, 2017, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon Bhima, which was fought in 1818 between the British East India Company and the Peshwas of the Maratha Confederacy. The event was organized by around 260 non-profit organizations and attended by nearly 35,000 people. Besides cultural programs, the conclave comprised speeches by prominent persons.
What happened in Bhima Koregaon village?
Tensions escalated in Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018, when Dalits were allegedly attacked upon entering the village to attend a traditional commemoration. It was celebrated by Hindu groups as "black day" as they were irked by equating of Hindutva with Peshwas. Amid violence, Dalits held demonstrations across Maharashtra. A 16-year-old boy was killed, 30 policemen were injured, and over 300 people were detained.