Shankar Gunde of Reliance industries walks out on Bail in Bhima Koregaon case

Written by Sushmita | Published on: March 20, 2019

Fourteen months since he was first incarcerated and three months since his bail was approved along with three others, Shankarayya Lingayya Gunde- workers of Reliance Energy/ Infrastructure has stepped out of jail today.


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Fourteen months since he was first incarcerated and three months since his bail was approved along with three others, Shankarayya Lingayya Gunde- workers of Reliance Energy/ Infrastructure has stepped out of jail today.

Charged under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), five workers of Reliance Energy- Satyanarayan Rajayya Karrela, Babu Shankar Buchayya Vanguri, Shankarayya Lingayya Gunde, Ravi Rajanna Maarampalli and Saidul Narsimha Singapanga – who had been working with the company for nearly two decades, have been languishing in Arthur Road jail under the harshest conditions for the last 14 months.

The Bombay High Court set aside a Sessions Court order granting extension of 90 days period for filing chargesheet on December 17. The grounds for the High Court to do so were that the accused workmen were not produced in court and that their lawyers were not notified about the extension, nor was their say considered by the Sessions Court. The High Court held that this was in clear violation of the provisions of UAPA) while setting aside the order dated April 9, 2018. Application for stay on the order by Government was also rejected. The workers then moved applications for bail before the Sessions Court.

In what has come to be known as the Bhima Koregaon case, Dalits visiting Bhima Koregaon memorial near Pune, Maharashtra, were attacked by Hindutva goons on January 1 and subsequent protests had followed in Maharashtra. Thereafter, the state began an unprecedented witch hunt of workers, activists and human rights defenders. The first arrests to take place were those of workers of Reliance Industries, a contractor in the same company and another social worker from Dombivli in Mumbai. Originally hailing from the Andhra Pradesh/ Telangana regions, they have been permanent residents of Mumbai since the last 2 to 4 decades. For the period of their incarceration, the workers’ families have lived in precarious conditions, facing the stigma from society.





Despite the bail being approved more than two months back, the workers and their families faced challenges related to surety and solvency, compelling one to ponder on the unfriendly and treacherous judicial processes prevailing in the country.

Exhilarated on the occasion, Vasudevan Nambiath, convenor of the Trade Union Solidarity Committee (TUSC) and New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) said, “This is just the beginning of another struggle. This is just a relief. Now our concern is the trial. We have to prove that they were arrested for no reason. They were arrested to destroy the collective power of the workers and the union. Now that he has walked out, and other [releases] are in the pipeline, we have to think about how to rebuild the union.” He also added, “Shankar is sitting right in front of me. He is worried more about others and their future, more than his own.”