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Mental Torture: Police Don’t Even Allow Sudha Bharadwaj To Buy Vegetables; Gautam Navlakha Barred From Meeting Nephew

The two activists, who were arrested by Pune police, were put on house arrest after the Supreme Court stayed their transit remand.

Rights activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj is sharing her two-bedroom apartment in Faridabad with her lady lawyer and five other policewomen. Former editorial director with Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), Gautam Navlakha, is under house arrest at his partner’s South Delhi residence. The police stayed inside the activists’ respective houses, watching and monitoring them constantly, a day after the Supreme Court halted the request of immediate custody and ordered the house arrest, reported The Indian Express.

The police told Navlakha and his partner Sabha Husain to “not shut the bedroom door” when the couple retired. However, they later relented and sat outside the bedroom door as the matter was taken up with their seniors.

Although Navlakha could speak to his family and friends, the police did not let his nephew enter the house. Moreover, the police showed interest in Navalkha’s relationship with Husain, asking if they should fill in “mitr” in the paperwork. Navlakha responded, “No, it is more than that, please write ‘Life Partner’.”

In Bharadwaj’s case, the police have enforced a ban on “loose items”, including vegetables and eggs, from being brought into the house. Bharadwaj is allowed to have only “packaged food”, like Maggi noodles, in such a scenario. 

Bharadwaj shares the space with her 20-year-old student-daughter, who is not staying in the house due to Bharadwaj’s house arrest. Bharadwaj does not have has access to newspapers, her laptop or her mobile phone. Sources close to her are not sure if the police asked the vendor to stop delivering newspapers to her apartment. 

Emphasising the importance of dissent on Thursday, the Supreme Court ordered that the activists should be put under house arrest till September 6. After this, Bharadwaj and her lawyer wanted to order in a pizza, but it was “forbidden” by the police.

Bharadwaj’s lawyer has moved the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) with three specific applications: first, to allow lawyers to meet her in her house; second, for shifting police personnel from inside the house and limit them to two; and third, to let  residents of the house partake in their daily activities. Now, the public prosecutor’s reply is sought in the issue. 

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