Ramesh Gaichor is a 39-year-old activist and member of the cultural organisation Kabir Kala Manch. He has a degree in Commerce from Wadia College in Pune, Maharashtra. He joined the Kabir Kala Manch in the year 2002 when he was just 19 years old and committed himself to the cause of bringing social change through art forms. Kabir Kala Manch emerged as a resistance collective following the Gujarat riots. The group is confrontational about casteism, patriarchy, communalism and state corruption. The group was labelled a “Maoist front” by the Maharashtra police. Ramesh Gaichor was also a member of Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyaan, an Umbrella term for the committee involved in organising the Elgar Parishad on December 31 2017.
Life and Activism
Ramesh Gaichor joined the Kabir Kala Manch in 2002 as a 19-year-old commerce student in Pune’s Wadia College. He helped build up the group with his commitment to social change through art and culture. Since the Manch did not make much money through their performances, Gaichor also worked part-time jobs as a hospital clerk and a lecturer over the years. This work stopped after he got arrested in 2013, along with two other artists Sagar Gorkhe and Sachin Mali by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) accused of being an alleged member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and were accused of having links with Maoists. Gaichor spent three years as an undertrial in jail. He was then granted bail on January 3, 2017, by the Supreme Court.
Circumstances of Arrest
He along with the two other Kabir Kala Manch artists, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for their participation in the Elgar Parishad and allegedly inciting violence on the bicentennial anniversary of Bhima Koregaon battle in Pune. In a video before his arrest, along with Sagar Gorkhe, he stated that the NIA forced them to provide statements to implicate those arrested in the Elgar Parishad case. They also stated that the NIA forced them to confess things they have never been involved in.
Charges & Allegations
He was arrested in relation to the Bhima Koregaon case along with Sagar Gorkhe, charges were filed against them for delivering a “provocative” speech and performance during Elgar Parishad that supposedly caused violence in the Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018. He is charged under the sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
In December 20, he along with Sagar Gorkhe, challenged their arrest in the Bombay High Court, NIA responded, stating that singing a parodical satire against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the policies implemented by the state was one of the grounds for their arrest. He is currently lodged in Taloja Jail in Mumbai.