THE BOMBAY High Court on Monday refused to grant interim relief to Bhim Army, which had sought permission to conduct a public meeting in Pune on Monday, the anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon. Last year, widespread violence had erupted in Koregaon Bhima on January 1, claiming one life and leaving several injured.
The petition filed before the HC on Sunday had sought a direction restraining the state government from taking any action against members of the Bhim Army. Assistant Public Prosecutor Prajakta Shinde told the court that the Pune Police had neither detained nor placed Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad under house arrest.
A ‘Bhima Koregaon Sangarsh Mahasabha’, to be organised by Bhim Army in Pune on Sunday, was canceled in the absence of clearances. Following this, the Bhim Army, through its Pune unit chief Datta Pol, had moved the HC, seeking to conduct a meeting in Pune on Monday. He had also submitted an undertaking that law and order will not be violated.
Lawyer Nitin Satpute, representing Pol, told the vacation bench of Justice C V Bhadang on Monday that the police had neither allowed nor rejected their plea seeking permission to hold a public meeting in Pune on December 30 and 31.
The Pune Police also informed the HC that the permission for an interactive session to be held on Monday between students and Azad at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) was not refused not by the police but by the university authorities due to “administrative reasons”. Satpute said that Bhim Army had not received any communication regarding SPPU denying it permission to hold the interactive session.
Based on Satpute’s submission that he will take instructions from the petitioner on this, the court adjourned the hearing, directing the Pune Police to submit a reply.
Satpute, meanwhile, told the court that Azad was detained in a hotel room in Mumbai on Saturday, when he had come to conduct a public meeting in Worli on December 29. The petition also sought a compensation of Rs 10 crore, claiming that Azad and other activists were illegally detained by the Mumbai Police.
The case will be heard next on January 4.