More than five years after the plot to assassinate the democratically elected leader of the nation by the urban cadres of the proscribed Communist party of India unearthed, one of the conspirator Navlakha who also had a role in instigating the casteist violence in Bhima Koregaon have been put up in a strange set of arrangement by the Supreme court.
In Fact the accused Gautam Navlakha had not only been allowed a house arrest by the honorable court but he has been recently provided an extension of his house arrest.
Earlier Navlakha had filed a petition in the apex court seeking a house arrest on the pretext of him being grown up old and his aeling medical conditions to which the NIA through its council opposed tooth and nail.
However, leaving behind the concerns pointed out by the NIA counsel the apex court in its verdict not only directed the investigative agency to make the necessary arrangements for the house arrest but also considered Navlakha's request of choosing the communist party of India office as his temporary residence.
The only partial silver lining for the NIA in the judgment were the restrictions that have been added to the house arrest of Navlakha, thanks to the thoughtful insight of the honorable judges to at least consider the necessities while providing relief to a person who had been lodged under UAPA for waging war against the country.
A couple of weeks ago, the Apex court extended the period of the house arrest till February 17 owing to the unavailability of the NIAs counsel in the hearing. Now this extension means that Navlakha would be out of the prison for at least two months.
The Court in its November's verdict cited humanitarian view of the case while granting special facilities for Navlakha but here the question arises that have the courts been providing similar reliefs to other prisoners of his age or Navlakha have been considered as an exception, thanks to his poster boy image among the Communist lobby.
“There is no doubt that the judiciary functioning as an inalienable part of the democratic setup of the country should be more aligned to the humanitarian values though it should not been implemented as an exception, in addition to this while providing any sort of relief to a criminal who has attracted UAPA our judges should also consider the other side of the coin particularly if the accused is of Navlakha stature.”
(Navlakha addressing a press meet)
His affiliation with the terrorist organizations and like minded individuals can be better understood by the NIA's chargesheet put-up against him, as per the chargesheet Navlakha was not only a senior cadre of the proscribed CPI Maoist but he was also in constant touch with one Ghulam Mir, an undercover agent of the Pakistan intelligence wing ISI.
In addition to that his affiliations with the Kashmiri's separatist have also been under the radar of the security agencies, the charge sheet also highlights its role in facilitating the Elgaar Parishad following which riots broke out on the next day at Bhima Koregaon.
Now, shall the special treatment given to Navlakha not bolster the morale of his comrades unleashing terror on the innocent citizens in the rural areas of the country or will it not pave the way for the other accused in the case to seek similar facilities.
These speculations do get bolstered when so-called poet and activist Varvara Rao, another accused in the Bhima koregaon violence has been out on bail since long on, In his case too the agencies have submitted their reservations against providing relief to him medical grounds citing that he has been treated well in accordance with the prisons manual.
( Varvara Rao)
In the Navlakha case the NIA has indeed asserted that the medical board which has certified the prolonged illness of Navlakha had a direct relative of his ( His sister husband) however dismissing the concern of the agency the court pronounced that the house arrest should be implemented with immediate effect.
The current state of affairs do indicate that somehow in the eyes of the judiciary the accused have managed to portray themselves as the political prisoners of the state who should be treated exceptionally, another aspect can be related to the inefficiency of our legal structure whose incompetence often took years to come to a conclusion.
The judiciary along with the other legal bodies involved in the process needs to understand that the failure of the system to punish the culprits who under disguise of revolutionary has opted to wage a war against the country does have a irreversible effect on the masses who quietly wait for the wheels of justice to move and deliver justice to them.
This especially become lethal in the unreached rural areas of the country where the victims of the violence often become hopeless while seeking justice this ultimately drive them and the people in the surrounding to surrender before the very people who wreck havoc on them, the judiciary and the system need to understand there is more on the stake than a mere bail or house arrest.