The National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Saturday remanded three Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) artistes in judicial custody till October 3 in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case.

While the NIA arrested Sagar Gorkhe (32) and Ramesh Gaichor (38) on September 7, Jyoti Jagtap (32) was picked up from Kondhwa in Pune the next day. The NIA, however, allowed the trio to carry some books to read and write. With the arrest of the members of the Pune-based cultural group, the number of accused in the case has gone up to 15.

Earlier, the trio was remanded in NIA custody till September 19. Special public prosecutor Prakash Shetty, who appeared for the NIA, had sought Ms. Jagtap’s custody on the ground that her name figured in the original FIR registered in the case on January 8, 2018. Mr. Shetty said Ms. Jagtap, along with the other arrested accused, hatched a “deep-rooted conspiracy” and committed serious offences that had a “severe social impact”.

While remanding Ms. Jagtap in police custody, Special judge R.R. Bhosale had recorded that after the FIR was lodged, several accused were arrested and a probe was launched. He said, “As noticed, serious offences having severe impact on society are under investigation since a long period. In this situation, she requires to be interrogated in the line of the earlier progress of investigation. Prima facie, there is sufficient material against her for grant of custody.”

KKM comprises Dalit and working class musicians and poets who came together after the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. Their songs question the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of anti-Dalit atrocities that occurred in Ramabai Nagar in 1997 and Khairlanji in 2006. Some of their songs and performances feature in the National Award-winning documentary Jai Bhim Comrade. The group is alleged to have links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

The trio organised the Elgaar Parishad under the auspices of the Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerana Abhiyan on December 31, 2017, which allegedly triggered the violence at Bhima-Koregoan the next day. They have been charged under provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

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