Several academics, journalists, public intellectuals besides a host of national and international Ambedkarite and rights organisations have demanded that the “fabricated charges” against activist-academic Professor Anand Teltumbde be quashed.
He is charged with sedition and conspiracy that allegedly resulted in caste violence at Bhima Koregaon near Pune last year. He is also accused of being a member of the banned underground organisation CPI(Maoist). The Management professor has categorically denied the allegations.
On Monday, January 14, the Supreme Court had refused to quash the FIR filed by Pune Police against the civil rights activist in connection with the Elgar Parishad meeting and violence at Bhima-Koregaon besides his alleged Maoist links. The apex court had also refused to interfere with the ongoing investigation in the case.
C. Rammanohar Reddy, editor of The India Forum, an online magazine to be launched in February, wrote in The Indian Express: “A caring society will give protection to someone like Teltumbde; it instead threatens him with long years of incarceration under the dreaded legislation in the absurd Bhima Koregaon case.”
Maintaining that there is a familiar pattern in the action of the law enforcement agencies, he stated in his article, ‘The Anand Teltumbde I know’, “From making ‘sedition’ charges against students of Jawaharlal Nehru University to booking alleged cow smugglers under the National Security Act to framing charges against intellectuals and activists under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, they all seem to be accusations made on political motivation, to the benefit of the ruling dispensation.”
“Those charged will all be eventually acquitted, but “eventually” after many years of lost lives, he added, wondering, “Should a society use its citizens as cannon fodder in cases that are built on trumped up charges?”
Coordination of Science and Technology Institutes’ Student Associations (COSTISA) has appealed for “organising solidarity gatherings in academic campuses, create signature campaigns, issue statements, write articles, and whatever method deems fit so as to create a visible public outrage against this vilest plot and to support Dr. Teltumbde.”
“Until now Prof. Teltumbde felt confident that whatever charges the Police levied could be proved as criminal fabrication once they landed before the court. However, now the case has reached a crucial point where all his beliefs on the judiciary stand shattered,” maintained COSTISA.
“He has been vocal about the education sector which was adversely affected by the neoliberal policies adopted by successive governments,” the statement claimed, stressing that “These incidents are not to be treated as stray incidents…”
Commenting on sedition charges filed against the former JNUSU president and others, and on the impending arrest of the noted Dalit writer and civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde, famous writer Arundhati Roy said that the arrest of Anand Teltumbde would be a shameful moment in our history
COSTISA that comprises Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, IIT Madras, Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle, IIT Bombay, Students For Change, IIT BHU, Students For Change, IMS BHU, Ambedkar Bhagat Singh Study Circle, IIT Kharagpur, Forum for Critical Thinking, IIT Kanpur, Friends of COSTISA (IIT Gandhinagar) and Friends of COSTISA (IIEST Shibpur), further stated that “Prof. Teltumbde is one of the most important public intellectuals. His books on Ambedkar’s Mahad Satyagraha, the Khairlanji massacre, and, most recently, Republic of Caste are vital and indispensable reading…”
Several international bodies in a joint statement asserted, “We cannot accept such ‘detention without trial’. We therefore demand that all charges against Dr. Teltumbde be dropped immediately and that justice prevail on the side of truth”.
Ambedkar International Missions in USA, Canada, Australia,Japan, UAE, Qatar, Singapore and several other countries, Boston Study Group (BSG), India Civil Watch, USA and Canada besides South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), Vancouver are among the bodies who issued the statement.
Commenting on sedition charges filed against the former JNUSU president and others, and on the impending arrest of the noted Dalit writer and civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde, famous writer Arundhati Roy said that the arrest of Anand Teltumbde would be a shameful moment in our history.
Previously, seeking public help, Teltumbde in an open letter had said that all his hopes of the charges against him being proved as criminal fabrication “stand completely shattered”. He also said that the “time has come to build a visible campaign in support of me from various sections of people so as to save me from imminent arrest.”