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UAPA Accused Sudha Bharadwaj Gets Bail; Here's the Story of Her Incarceration

Arrested on 28 August 2018, Bharadwaj has been in pre-trial detention for over three years.

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Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

Sudha Bharadwaj, a human rights lawyer, defending India’s indigenous communities, and a protector of worker’s rights, had been serving pre-trial detention since August 2018, until the Bombay High Court accepted her bail plea on 1 December.

"It is declared that Sudha Bharadwaj ... is entitled to be released on default bail under section 167(2) read with Section 43-D(2) of UAPA," the high court's order reads.

HOW SUDHA BHARADWAJ WAS ARRESTED

After the violence that broke out between alleged Hindutva supporters and Dalits, following the Elgar Parishad gathering, five activists, including Sudha Bharadwaj, were arrested in June 2018, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

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The bias of the State is all the more obvious when the leaders of Hindutva organisations named in complaints and FIRs as instigators of the Bhima Koregaon violence, whose anticipatory bail applications have been refused by even the Supreme Court, still roam free.
Sudha Bharadwaj, in a Press conference

As a result, Bharadwaj was arrested with four other human rights activists on 28 August 2018.

In November 2018, Pune police claimed that the documents recovered from electronic devices of Bharadwaj’s co-accused ‘incriminate her as a member of banned CPI(Maoist)’. Charges were filed against her under UAPA.

In 2019, Bharadwaj’s father, Ranganath Bharadwaj passed away and the Bombay High Court granted a 3-day bail to her.

In the same year, her second bail was rejected in October 2019 and the investigations into the Bhima Koregaon Case was transferred to the National Investigation Agency in January 2020.

The decision to transfer came in the backdrop of the tri-party alliance Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress assuming power in Maharashtra replacing the BJP.

BHARADWAJ’S HEALTH THROUGH COVID YEARS

Throughout the rest of 2020 and 2021, Bharadwaj’s had raised health concerns and applied for bail stating her age, diabetes, hypertension, pulmonary tuberculosis, and COVID-19.

‘Triggered by stress’, Bharadwaj’s daughter, alleged that her mother had even developed ‘Ischemic heart disease’ in jail.

In April 2021, following her vaccination in jail, Bharadwaj called her daughter and complained of diarrhoea, fatigue, loss of appetite and loss of sense of taste. At this time, Bharadwaj was incarcerated in Mumbai’s Byculla Jail.

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She has nothing: no diarrhoea, no fatigue. She is any way over 60-years-old. She is bound to have some aches and pains. She resorts to these gimmicks to get bail.
Sadanand Gaikwad, SP, Byculla jail

Three years on, while Sudha Bharadwaj is ‘held hostage by UAPA’, the supporters of the right wing-Hindutva group which allegedly called for violence at Elgar Parishad remain out on bail and are yet to be called for questioning.

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande
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