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The Pune sessions court dismissed the bail applications of six accused — Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhavale, Varavara Rao, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson — in the Bhima Koregaon case on Wednesday. The prosecution opposed their pleas saying there was material to show links between the accused and Maoists.

Last month, the Bombay High Court had also denied bail to three other accused, Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, who were initially placed under house arrest in August last year by the Pune Police and were later taken into custody on October 26, 2018, after a sessions court in Pune rejected their bail pleas. The three activists, who have been in jail since, approached the high court last year.

Activist and journalist Gautam Navlakha withdrew his anticipatory bail plea in the Bombay High Court and moved the same before the Pune Sessions Court on Monday. The Supreme Court had granted interim protection from arrest to Navlakha which will expire on November 11.

These activists, academicians and lawyers have been accused of inciting caste-based violence in Koregaon Bhima in Pune on January 1, 2018. Violent clashes had erupted during a celebratory gathering at the Maharashtra village in 2018 to mark the 200th year of the Battle of Koregaon, wherein a band of lower-caste soldiers fighting under the British banner defeated the numerically superior army of Peshwa Bajirao II.

According to Pune Police, the accused made inflammatory speeches at the Elgar Parishad conclave on December 31, 2017 that triggered violence at the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in the district the next day. The police alleged that the accused had links with Maoists and were working towards overthrowing the government.

Several Left-leaning activists and writers were arrested in June and August 2018. They were booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code including sedition by the Pune police.

— India Legal Bureau

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