Bhima Koregaon case: Shoma Sen released from prison after 6 years

The Supreme Court recently granted Shoma Sen bail considering her health condition and the prolonged detention without a trial.
Shoma Sen being greeted by her daughter
Shoma Sen being greeted by her daughterImage courtesy: Indira Jaising
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After six years of detention, 66-year-old activist Shoma Sen was released from the Byculla prison in Maharashtra on Wednesday April 17. Shoma Sen who is a former professor from the Nagpur University was arrested in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case. She was arrested on charges of terrorism under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). 

The Supreme Court recently granted her bail considering her health condition and the prolonged detention without a trial.

As per the bail conditions, Shoma Sen has to report to the station house officer within the jurisdiction where she resides, once every fortnight. She is also not allowed to leave Maharashtra without a special court's approval and must surrender her passport. 

She has to inform the National Investigation Agency (NIA) about her place of residence for surveillance. Her mobile phone should remain active so that the anti-terror agency can monitor her movement. 

Shoma Sen was arrested on June 6, 2018 for her alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence. Along with Sen, 15 other activists including Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Fr. Stan Swamy and others were arrested in the case. The Pune police accused them of being “Maoists.” 

As per the case, the alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave held on December 31, 2017 at Pune’s Shaniwarwada, led to the violence in Bhima Koregaon. On January 1, 2018, when Dalits from the Mahar community had congregated at the Bhima Koregaon memorial to participate in the bicentenary celebrations of the Bhima Koregaon battle, they were attacked by Maratha groups allegedly led by controversial right-wing leader Sambhaji Bhide. 

While initially the police charged Bhide under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and various sections of the IPC including attempted murder, the case against him was dropped in 2022. The police claimed that they did not find any evidence against Bhide in the violence.

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