The Supreme Court on Friday extended the protection from arrest granted to scholar-activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde in the Bhima Koregaon case till March 16.

A bench comprising of Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee said it would hear the appeals filed by Navlakha and Teltumbde against the Bombay High Court order on February 14 which rejected their anticipatory bail pleas. The court refused to grant anticipatory bail to Navlakha and Teltumbde, saying “prima facie evidence shows complicity of both the accused in the case”.

However, the high court, while denying the anticipatory bail to the duo, had extended the interim protection from arrest for a period of four weeks to enable them to approach the apex court.

Advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi, who were appearing for the activists, informed the bench that the protection granted to both of them by the high court would expire on March 14 and the top court should extend it.

Navlakha, Teltumbde and several other activists were booked by the Pune Police for their alleged Maoist links and several other charges following the violence at Koregaon Bhima village in Pune district on January 1, 2018.

According to Pune Police, “inflammatory” speeches and “provocative” statements made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017 had triggered caste violence at Koregaon Bhima the next day.

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