Prominent Pune citizens speak up in solidarity with Anand Teltumbde
Prominent individuals from the city comprising retired judges, nationally acclaimed political analysts, social workers, union leaders, leftist and Ambedkarite organisations, activists, writers, a retired Indian police service (IPS) officer and a Dalit publishing house, came together to condemn the arrest of civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde.
At a media interaction held at Mahatma Phule wada in Ganj peth, the individuals claimed that there was an undeclared emergency in India and professor Teltumbde was being targeted for his dissenting views in the form of critical writings against the establishment. Local policemen and from the Special Branch (SB) were also present at the event.
BG Kolse Patil, retired judge; professor Vilas Wagh of Sugava publications; Manisha Gupte, activist, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Anand Patwardhan, film-maker, were present during the programme which was organised by Akash Sable, president, Republican Bharat.
Justice Kolse Patil said that as the country is moving towards 2019, civil rights and democratic rights are being curbed with impunity by way of dictatorship. “Professor Anand Teltumbde is being harassed and targeted for his dissenting views according to the Gujarat laboratory experiment at the behest of Pime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah. We have not met Teltumbde so far and he has no connection whatsoever with Elgar Parishad. However, his name has been included in the investigation as a conspiracy and it baffles us. We have filed a bail application before the lower court seeking Teltumbde’s release, but we are sure that it will not be granted. He has no role in Elgar Parishad and injustice is being meted out to him which prompted us to take up his case. Except Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale, all the other activists arrested in the case are not connected with the Elgar Parishad in any way,” he said.
Sable said that intellectuals were being harassed in the name of cultural nationalism by uncontrolled Hindutva organisations under directions from their mother organisation in the aftermath of the Elgar Parishad. “Some of the organisers have been branded as Naxalites while some of the arrested activists don’t have any connection with the Elgar Parishad, but are still behind the bars. Since the past one year, retired judges, human rights activists and constitutional experts have raised voice against the undeclared emergency. Teltumbde is a renowned intellectual. A Naxalism related false story has been created on the basis of a first information report by Tushar Damgude and a fact finding report of Vivek Vichar Manch. Teltumbde is being hounded under false charges based on this story,” Sable alleged.
Gupte said that right-wing forces have been let loose and it is the duty of the state government to provide justice to the citizens. “This is beginning of the end of freedom of speech and there is a possibility of India becoming a Hindu Rashtra (nation) in 2023-2024 and we will not allow it to happen,” she said.
Professor Vilas Wagh said that Teltumbde is an intellectual connected with the Ambedkarite movement and has written a number of books like Republic of Caste: Thinking Equality in the Time of Neoliberal Hindutva, these books inform the masses about caste issues. “The government finds intellectuals to be a threat and it is easy to target leftist individuals like him,” he said. Additional director general of police Uddhav Kamble (retd), said, “Teltumbe has been critical of the state and the present action is a culmination of his intellectual dissent.” Film-maker Anand Patwardhan also spoke on the occasion.
The case: SC quash FIR
The Supreme Court on January 14 refused to quash the Pune police’s FIR against civil rights activist and Indian Institute of Management alumnus professor Anand Teltumbde for his alleged link with Maoists. Teltumbde has been booked along with other activists for allegedly plotting the assassination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and inciting mob violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018. The SC said that Teltumbde could seek regular bail from the trial court in the meantime and extended the interim protection from the arrest granted to Teltumbde by the Bombay High Court by four weeks.
Books by Anand Teltumbde
The Radical in Ambedkar: Critical Reflection-Penguin Allen Lane
India and Communism
Mahad: The Making of the First Dalit Revolt
The Persistence of Caste: The Khairlanji Murders and India’s Hidden Apartheid
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