New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the house arrest of five rights activists in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence case, till Thursday. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud hear the matter on the plea filed by historian Romila Thapar and four others.
At the last hearing in the case on September 17, the SC had said it may order a probe by a special investigating team (SIT) if it found that the evidence has been "cooked up". It had also said that the material, supporting the arrest of the five activists in the case, needed to be examined.
The five rights activists - Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha - at their respective homes.
The Maharashtra police had arrested the rights activists on August 28 in connection with an FIR lodged following a conclave -- 'Elgaar Parishad' -- held on December 31 last year that had later triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima village.
Earlier, the Maharashtra government had filed its response to the plea claiming the five activists were arrested due to the cogent evidence linking them with the banned CPI (Maoist) and not because of their dissenting views.
The state's response had come in the backdrop of the apex court, while ordering the house arrest of the five activists on August 29, categorically stating that "dissent is the safety valve of democracy".
The court had questioned the state police's move to arrest these activists nine months after the incident and said all of them were reputed citizens and "stifling the dissent" was not good.