Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe was part of the Kabir Kala Manch (a progressive socio-cultural movement formed in the wake of the Gujarat riots that used music, poetry, dance, and theatre to raise awareness about casteism, patriarchy, and other social distress). He pursued Sociology at Babasaheb Ambedkar College. He was also an active member of Bhima Koregaon, Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyaan, a committee that organised the Elgar Parishad conference. This cultural group was named a “Maoist” front by the Maharashtra police.
Life and activism
He came from a poor Dalit family in Pune where his parents moved from suburb to suburb taking up jobs as construction workers, security guards, and domestic workers. After school, he began living in the city’s Kashewadi slum and studied sociology at the Babasaheb Ambedkar College. As a student, he worked as a sweeper and a car cleaner to be able to pay for college, but later, he worked full-time with Kabir Kala Manch, applying his love of song and poetry to talk about people’s rights and justice. He was also arrested in 2013 by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for being an alleged member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). He was granted bail on January 3, 2017, by the Supreme Court.
Circumstances of arrest
In a video before his arrest, along with Ramesh Gaichor, he stated that the NIA forced them to provide statements to implicate those arrested in the Elgar Parishad case. He also stated that they are forced by the NIA to confess to things in which they were never involved in. He is one of the three Kabir Kala Manch artists arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Charges & Allegations
He’s charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, along with Sections 153A, 505, 117 and 120 of the Indian Penal Code.
He tested positive for Covid-19 in June 2021. His bail on medical grounds was rejected by the court. He is currently lodged in Taloja Jail, Mumbai.
On May 20 2022, he wrote a letter to state home minister Dilip Walse-Patil alleging that Taloja jail authorities are discriminating against several accused in the Bhima Koregaon case and deliberately delaying medical treatment to them even though they are suffering from several serious ailments. In the letter dated May 20, he said that he is suffering from backache, severe joint pain and skin allergy. “Despite the court ordering them to be taken to the outpatient department (of a government hospital), jail officials and the medical officer are acting as per their whims and fancies,” he wrote. He further stated that, “My co-accused Gautam Navlakha, Ramesh Gaichor, Sudhir Dhawle, Mahesh Raut, Surendra Gadling, Anand Teltumbde and Hany Babu are all suffering from various illnesses, but deliberate attempts are being made to delay their medical treatment.” “Medicines, especially Ayurvedic medicines, brought in through relatives and lawyers are just not acceptable,” he added. He has, therefore, requested the home minister to take appropriate action against the concerned jail officials and provide timely medical facilities to those arrested in the Elgar Parishad case.