The Bombay High Court on Monday granted activist Gautam Navlakha interim protection from arrest till February 18. The court was hearing a petition moved by Navlakha, seeking quashing of the FIR lodged by the Pune Police last year, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence on January 1, 2018.
The court granted the protection after it was informed that a special leave petition filed by the Maharashtra government in the case will be heard by the Supreme Court on February 8.
Activists Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao and Navlakha had earlier been put under house arrest for four weeks on the directions of the Supreme Court.
The FIR in the case, lodged by Pune resident Tushar Damgude on January 8, 2018 initially named Harshali Potdar and Sudhir Dhawale of the Republican Panthers, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap and Deepak Dhengle of the Pune-based Kabir Kala Manch.
It claimed that the accused, as per the strategy of CPI-Maoist, “misled Dalits and spread thoughts of violence” in their minds. On June 6, the police had arrested activist Rona Wilson, Nagpur-based lawyer Surendra Gadling, Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen, former Prime Minister Rural Development fellow Mahesh Raut and activist Sudhir Dhawale in connection with the case. All had been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act .