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India: Arrested 7-member team of Telangana Dem. Front to move bail plea in High Court

28 January 2017

RAIPUR: The seven-member “fact-finding team” of Telangana Democratic Front arrested last month at Sukma, south Chhattisgarh, will move the bail application in the high court on Monday.

The seven members include lawyers, social activists, journalists and a research scholar who were reportedly visiting the restive Bastar zone to study and probe into the existing ground situation. They were arrested and jailed under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act. Early this month the Dantewada court rejected their bail plea.

[Read the full article on the New Indian Express]

“The bail plea of the members of the civil society group is likely to be heard on Monday. The related case diary would be called to the high court from the lower court. It’s not a final hearing”, said the lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, who is also a general secretary of human rights organisation PUCL, Chhattisgarh. 

Chhattisgarh police however will oppose the bail applications.

“We will surely challenge the bail. If they are set free then the bigger risk would be for those who have identified the seven members who are in Sukma jail. The charges against them are serious”, the Sukma additional superintendent of police Jitendra Shukla told Express.

Meanwhile a protest meeting will be organised by the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) at Hyderabad on Sunday. “The lawyers and others should be unconditionally released. The protest meeting at Hyderabad will raise the issue of lawyers being threatened, branded and arrested. We are joining the protest”, said Narayan Rao, general secretary of Telangana Civil Liberties.

In the recent gathering of IAPL at Mumbai, the organisation called for the unconditional release of advocates Chikkudu Prabhakar and Balla Ravindranath from Telangana and A Murugan from Tamil Nadu and to end the harassment of lawyers from the JagLag (Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group) in Chhattisgarh. IAPL cited such instances as an assault on an advocate’s right to fearlessly practice their profession and the violation of the fundamental right of all arrestees to get right to fair trail.

The human rights advocacy group Amnesty International India too has demanded immediate release of seven members of fact-finding team.

[Read the full article on the New Indian Express]