Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor, cultural activists associated with Kabir Kala Manch, have been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on September 8 after being questioned for several days.
Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor, both well-known singers and anti-caste activists, had performed at the Elgar Parishad event held on December 31, 2018.
In a video recorded by The Wire, they say that the event took place due to the support of the Ambedkarite public, in spite of upper-caste resistance.
According to them, the revenge for this was taken at Bhima Koregaon the next day in violence organized by Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide.
The BJP government in Maharashtra at the time, instead of holding Ekbote and Bhide accountable, started targeting anti-caste activists.
The NIA, which has been investigating the case currently, has been interrogating human rights activists and intellectuals across the country. In relation to this, Gorkhe and Gaichor were both called in for interrogation last month. On September 4, they were called in again, and asked to confess that they had Maoists links. Sukanya Shantha from The Wire reported, that they believe that the officials wanted them to implicate others arrested in the case and since they refused, they are likely to be arrested.
Including Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor’s arrest, a total of 14 people have been arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case, and countless others have been called for interrogation across the country, most recent being Prof. K Satyanarayana from EFLU and Partho Sarothi Ray from IISER.
Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor were among Kabir Kala Manch artists who had been targeted as Maoists and arrested in 2013 by the Maharashtra Anti-terrorism Squad. They were granted bail by the Supreme Court in 207.
This continual targeting of artists who sing against caste, about resistance and rationalism, who have tirelessly spread the message of equality, solidarity, and harmony for years, and who have stood by the people irrespective of who is in power, reveals only how much all of these ideals go against the ideology of those in power.