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NIA arrested 16, chargesheeted 21 in Bhima Koregaon case: MHA

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New Delhi, Feb 02: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has so far arrested 16 accused in the Bhima Koregaon case and filed charge sheet against 21 accused, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

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Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy also said that the central government has taken note of the press release issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on October 20 last year on the restrictions on human right NGOs and arrests of activists in India, and has responded to it appropriately.

''Further, there are adequate safeguards available under the Constitution of India and various statutes including the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, for ensuring protection of human rights,'' he said replying to a written question.

Referring to the Bhima Koregaon case, the minister said the NIA has so far arrested 16 accused in the case and filed charge sheet against 21 accused in a court.

One of the accused, Varavara Rao, has been admitted to Nanavati super specialty hospital, Mumbai, he said in reply to another question.

The case refers to the violence that took place during a gathering on January 1, 2018 held at Bhima Koregaon to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.

In another question, Reddy's colleague, Nityanand Rai said the central government attaches highest importance to the safety and security of all residents of the country, including journalists.

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''The Ministry of Home Affairs have issued advisories to States and UTs, from time to time, to maintain law and order and ensure that any person who takes law into his or her own hand is punished promptly as per law. ''An advisory specifically on safety of journalists was issued to States and UTs on October 20, 2017 requesting them to strictly enforce the law to ensure safety and security of media persons,'' he said.

In another reply, Rai said the latest report of the National Crime Record Bureau did not maintain any specific data on arrests or detention of civil right activists.

''Therefore, making any inference regarding trend of arrest or detention in this regard is not possible,'' he said.

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