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Bombay:

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked academic Vernon Gonsalves to explain why he possessed books and CD’s that are anti-state. The materials that the court wanted an explanation included the 19th-century classic ‘War and Peace’ by Leo Tolstoy.

“The title of the CD Rajya Daman Virodhi itself suggests it has something against the state, while War and Peace is about a war in another country. Why were you having these books and CDs at home? You will have to explain this to the court,” said Justice Sarang Kotwal while hearing the bail plea of Vernon Gonsalves.

High Court has been hearing the bail pleas of Gonsalves and activists Sudha Bharadwaj and Arun Ferreira who were arrested on August 2018 in connection with the violence at Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1 that year.

The CD, that the High Court wanted an explanation for, Rajya Daman Virodhi is a collection released by Kabir Kala Manch.

Meanwhile, Gonsalves’ counsel Mihir Desai said merely possessing such books and CDs did not make Gonsalves a terrorist or a member of any banned Maoist group.

“So far, the police have failed to provide details of what was on the CDs or in the books and pamphlets recovered that linked Gonsalves to the case. Merely stating that they have objectionable titles is not enough. Have you tested these CDs? What if they turn out to be blank inside? If you [prosecution] do not place on record the content and details of such material, the court will have to ignore them,” Kotwal said.

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