NCHRO statement to extend our voice and support to Anand Teltumbde.
Anand Teltumbde, a well-known writer, civil rights activist and a Dalit public intellectual is now facing arrest under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for a crime which he did not commit. The Supreme Court on 14 January refused to quash the first information report filed by the Pune Police against him in connection with the violence at Bhima Koregaon on 1 January, 2018. Though the court has given him four weeks time to seek bail we all know that the UAPA act has stringent provisions which make any person charged under it very difficult to get bail and has to languish in prison for a long time. He is now in desperate condition and has published an open appeal that, “…My hopes stand completely shattered and I am left with just seeking bail right from the sessions court in Pune to the Supreme Court. 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.”
The BJP government ruling Maharashtra is using the Bhima Koregaon violence to arrest well known public intellectuals under UAPA. Branding writers and activists as ‘urban naxalites’ it has arrested at least ten intellectuals and most of them are still languishing in prison for the last several months. Anand Teltumbde didn’t even attend the Bhima Koregaon meet and he has actually downplayed the importance of the 18th century Bhima Koregaon battle. The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) strongly condemns the Maharashtra BJP government in targeting highly respected intellectuals in this way. NCHRO demands that all the charges against Anand Teltumbde should be dropped and other intellectuals who are languishing in prison in this case should be released immediately.
NCHRO appeals to all rights organisations and groups to raise their voice against the actions of the Maharashtra government.