Indian activist freed on bail after 3 years in jail in controversial case
New Delhi, Dec 9 (EFE).- Indian activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj was on Thursday released from a prison in the western city of Mumbai, as she was granted bail three years after being arrested in a controversial case, facing charges of inciting violence in a 2017 gathering of the marginalized Dalit community.
“What a smile! Released at 12.41 pm today,” senior Indian lawyer Indira Jaising tweeted along with the photograph of a smiling Bharadwaj inside a vehicle just after coming out of the prison.
Bharadwaj, 60, was granted bail by the Bombay High Court on Dec. 1, on a bail bond of 50,000 rupees ($662).
However, she had to wait a week to come out of prison, until the Supreme Court approved the bail after rejecting an appeal filed by the National Investigation Agency.
Bharadwaj is being investigated in a case related to clashes between Dalits and right-wing Hindu groups which left one person dead and injured many others between Dec. 31 – Jan. 1 2018 at Bhima Koregaon in the western state of Maharashtra.
Dalits had gathered there in large numbers to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon, in which the formerly “untouchable” members of the Hindu society had fought and won a battle as part of a British regiment against rulers of the Maratha caste, which enjoyed a higher social status.
The charges in the controversial case include inciting violence and links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), a left-wing insurgent group, as well as being part of an alleged plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Bharadwaj has been a member of rights group People’s Union for Civil Liberties, which has severely criticized the actions of Indian security forces in Maoist-affected areas.
The PUCL on Thursday celebrated Bharadwaj’s release and criticized the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, under which she had been charged.
The group said in a statement said that Bharadwaj’s release “indicates a shift in the larger public mood and judicial mindset towards acknowledging the UAPA as an unjust and undemocratic tool to stifle any viewpoint which the government considers problematic.”