UAPA accused undertrial Kanchan Nanaware dies in custody after prolonged illness

Her bail application on medical grounds in September last year was rejected in Pune court, bail plea in the Bombay High Court was pending 

UAPA accused undertrial Kanchan Nanavare

Kanchan Nanaware alias Bhoomi (38), who has been accused of being an alleged Maoist operative has died at Sassoon General Hospital in Pune. According to news reports, she died due to a prolonged heart ailment and related health complications. She and her husband Arun Bhelke alias Rajan were arrested in September 2014 by Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

According to a report in the Indian Express, Nanaware’s bail application on medical grounds was rejected by a sessions court in Pune in September last year. Her bail plea in the Bombay High Court was pending for disposal. The IE reported that police confirmed Nanaware’s death at Sassoon General Hospital around 4 PM on January 24, Sunday. The couple was facing charges under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Nanaware had been lodged in Yerawada Central Prison since her arrest, and was reportedly suffering from cardiac ailments since her college days. The IE quoted her lawyer, Advocate Rohan Nahar as saying, “We had applied for her bail on medical grounds in September last year and had moved the HC after it was rejected by the sessions court. The application was pending for disposal.” Nanaware hailed from Chandrapur district, Maharashtra and after she met Bhelke she is reported to have become an active member of his Deshbhakti Yuva Manch (DYM). The police had later declared this group to be a front for the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist.

According to news reports, she was last admitted to the hospital on January 16. According to her lawyer, “Following the Bombay High Court’s directives, a committee was formed at the Sassoon hospital to oversee her treatment. She had recently started suffering from lung complications and multiple organ issues. A private doctor had suggested a heart transplant as the only treatment to her worsening condition. We are in touch with the jail authorities for the further formalities.” It is reported that the couple was first arrested in January 2008 under UAPA in an arms recovery case in Chandrapur, after getting bail in the case, the couple went underground and started operating under the aliases of Rajan and Bhoomi, police was quoted by IE. 

Of the nine cases that Nanaware was booked in, she was already acquitted in six cases, reported The Wire. Three cases were still pending, and Nanaware was essentially an undertrial prisoner. Her husband Arun Belke continues to be in jail. Nanaware’s lawyer Rohan Nahar told The Wire, “It is unfortunate that her health condition did not push the courts to give a favourable order and grant her bail. She was accused of Maoist activities and the tragedy is we would never know whether she was really involved. She was punished through her incarceration.”

According to the news report, her family was not informed about her condition immediately. “Belke’s family received a letter today (January 24) informing them about her deteriorating health condition. And later today, they received a call saying she has succumbed to health complications,” said her lawyers. The report adds that the lawyers’ team will now move the court to have Nanaware’s body moved to Belke’s family in Ballarshah city in Chandrapur district.



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