The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the house arrest for five accused activists- Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha till the next hearing on September 17.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, also agreed to hear certain other pleas filed by other accused persons who were arrested in June this year, along with the present batch of petitions.

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In last hearing on September 6, the court extended house arrest for the five activists till September 12. The Maharashtra police defended the activists arrests before the top court and urged it to vacate the order of placing the activists under house arrest, saying that there is enough material against them to prove they are all active members of Communist Party of India (Maoists), preparing for large scale violence and an “armed rebellion” in India.

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On August 29, the Supreme Court while directing that the five activists arrested in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence case said that the activists should be kept under house arrest till September 6, observing that dissent is the “safety valve of democracy”. “Dissent is the safety valve of democracy and if you don’t allow these safety valves, it will burst,” the court had said.

Cops had arrested APCLC leader Varavara Rao, journalist Gautam Navlakha from New Delhi while trade union activist Sudha Bharadwaj was arrested from Fardiabad in Haryana. Vernon Golsaves and Arun Farreira were nabbed from Mumbai.  

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