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Bombay HC refuses bail to activist Jyoti Jagtap in Elgar Parishad case

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Mumbai, Oct 17: The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant bail to activist Jyoti Jagtap, arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, saying the National Investigation Agency's case against her was "prima facie true".

The NIA had alleged that Jagtap was spreading activities of the banned outfit CPI (Maoist) in urban areas and that she made efforts to mobilise Dalits at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, to protest against the government and to create hatred against it.

Bombay HC refuses bail to activist Jyoti Jagtap in Elgar Parishad case

A division bench of Justices A S Gadkari and M N Jadhav dismissed the appeal filed by 34-year-old Jagtap, challenging a February 2022 order of a special court refusing to grant her bail. "We are of the opinion that the NIA case is prima facie true. Hence the appeal stands dismissed," the court said.

Jagtap, accused of singing and raising provocative slogans at the Elgar Parishad conclave along with other members of the Kabir Kala Manch, was arrested in the case in September 2020 and has been lodged at the Byculla women's prison in Mumbai since then.

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According to the investigators, provocative speeches were allegedly made at the Elgar Parishad conclave on December 31, 2017, triggering violence at Koregaon-Bhima in Maharashtra's Pune district on January 1, 2018. The Pune police had claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists.

The NIA later took over the probe into the case. According to the NIA, Kabir Kala Manch is a frontal group for the banned terror outfit CPI (Maoist). While Jagtap, a singer-cum-activist, claimed she was innocent and the NIA failed to establish any prima facie evidence against her, the agency said Jagtap had made efforts to mobilise Dalits at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, to protest against the government and to create hatred against it.

The NIA had also alleged that Jagtap was spreading activities of the CPI (Maoist) in urban areas. The central probe agency had claimed Jagtap was an active member of the CPI (Maoist) and that she was spreading activities of the banned "terror group" in urban areas and had undergone training for using weapons and explosives.

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However, Jagtap had argued that the Kabir Kala Manch was a cultural group which tried to bring communal harmony and secularism back into the Indian society through music and poetry. Out of 16 people arrested in the case, Father Stan Swamy died at a private hospital here last year while in judicial custody. Two other accused - Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao - are out on bail, while the others are still in jail.

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