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SC verdict on activists a win for India but indictment of Congress: BJP

Earlier today, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court refused a SIT probe in the arrest of five activists picked up by Pune police in connection with Bhima-Koregaon violence.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday accused the Congress of siding with “anti-nationals” and even put national security at risk only to stay in power.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Friday following a ruling in the Bhima Koregaon case, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said that today’s judgement “exposes the Congress party”.

“Today’s ruling in the SC is a victory of national security and national interest,” said Patra, hours after the apex court refused a SIT probe into the arrests of five activists in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case.

“This judgement by the SC is a win for India. This verdict is also an indictment of Congress. For its selfish interests, Congress and Rahul Gandhi are trying to trample the nation and are ready to play with national security,” alleged Patra.

“Rahul Gandhi should answer why he is always seen standing with anti-nationals,” said the BJP spokesperson.

He said that the Congress wants to remove Modi and doesn’t care “whether Pakistan removes him or Maoists”.

“But the people of the country are with the nation, its safety and Modi,” said Patra.

Commenting on the ruling, Patra said that those “who work against the national security don’t have the luxury of choosing as to what kind of prosecution they will face”.

“They also do not have the luxury as to when and how the law will act again,” said Patra.

Earlier today, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AM Khanwilkar refused a SIT probe in the arrest of five activists Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha.

Read More: Activists’ arrest | SC refuses SIT probe, extends house arrest for 4 weeks

In a 2:1 verdict, the apex court also extended the house arrest of the five activists for four weeks and directed the Pune police to go ahead with the probe.

“It is not a case of arrest because of dissent,” Justice Khanwilkar said while reading out the verdict.

“Accused cannot choose which probe agency should examine the case,” he observed.

The apex court, however, said the activists can move the trial court for relief. The five activists are under arrest at their respective homes since 29 August.

However, Justice DY Chandrachud presented a dissenting opinion stating that the case was “fit to be probed by SIT”, adding that there was “sufficient material placed before us to order SIT”.

Justice Chandrachud further said, “The court has to be vigilant that liberty is not sacrificed on the altar of conjecture”.

A plea by historian Romila Thapar and others had sought the immediate release of the five rights activists and a SIT probe into their arrest.

The Maharashtra government had submitted before the Supreme Court that the five rights activists were arrested due to the ‘cogent’ evidence linking them to the banned CPI (Maoist) and not because of their dissenting views.

The Maharashtra police had arrested them on 28 August in connection with an FIR lodged following a conclave — ‘Elgaar Parishad’ — held on 31 December last year that had later triggered violence at Bhima-Koregaon village in the state.