India News

Bhima Koregaon Case: Gautam Navlakha’s Partner Issues Public Appeal to Allow Him to Speak on Phone

Author and women’s rights activist Sahba Husain, partner of Bhima Koregaon case accused journalist Gautam Navlakha, issued a public appeal on Sunday asking to speak to him over phone.


“His telephone calls to me and his lawyers, his lifeline to the outside world, have been discontinued on the pretext that physical mulaquats (meetings) have resumed in jail,” she said.

The Telegraph reported that Navlakha, who is nearly 70-years-old and is one of the oldest of the Bhima Koregaon arrestees. He was shifted to the ‘Anda Circle’ (high security) from the barracks on October 12,

“I, his partner, Sahba Husain, am over 70, and I live in Delhi. Travelling to Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai frequently to meet him for the allotted ten minutes is difficult,” she added.

Husain further mentioned that their only way of contact- two calls where he would ask her to send him articles, medicines, books, among other things- has now been cut off. She said that she had to depend on letters that take minimum of two weeks to reach her following the discontinuance of calls.

This has also disrupted the regular access to lawyers which is an “essential facility for undertrial prisoners, she said. “To deprive any undertrial prisoner of this effective and efficient mode of securing legal advice and help, or access to family, is the height of unfairness.”

In her statement, Husain also mentioned that Navlakha wrote to her that “confinement in Anda Circle means denial of fresh air/ oxygen as there is not a single tree or plant in the open space of the Circle. And we are forbidden to step outside of the Anda Circle…. In other words, we spend 16 hours out of 24 cooped inside our cell and the 8 hours we are let out we are confined to a corridor 71/2’ x 72’ for our daily walk on cemented floor surrounded by high walls all around.”


Husain wrote,”These are prisoners of conscience, who have had to face indignities and humiliation for the smallest needs, and wage court battles for basic dignities in prison. In the past, when Navlakha’s original pair of spectacles went missing, it was difficult for the replacement spectacles to reach him in time,” she said.

In the statement, there was mention of late Father Stand Swamy another accused in the case, who suffered from Parkinsons and other age related ailments at the age of 84. He died in custody in June.

“Stan, severely debilitated by Parkinson’s Disease, had to fight for such basic needs as a straw to drink, help to move to the toilet, and medical attention,” the statement said. “His simple desire was that in his declining state of health he should be allowed to die at home in Ranchi,” the statement read.

Recent Developements

Recently, in September, the Special National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court also rejected the application filed by Navlakha along with co-accused Hany Babu and Sudha Bharadwaj seeking a copy of draft charges submitted by the NIA who are investigating the case.

Co-aacused Varavara Rao, the 82-years-old Telugu poet, who was out on bail because of critical health issues, had been provided another extension which was earlier extended till September 24. The Bombay Hingh Court said that he need not surrender before the Taloja Jail authorities until Thursday.


Last week, the Bombay High Court granted two weeks’ time to the NIA to file a reply to a bail plea moved by another accused activist Anand Teltumbde.

On October 22, the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry issued summons to IPS officers Param Bir Singh and Rashmi Shukla to appear as witnesses in the ongoing investigation of the case.