The Bombay High Court has asked the state to file a reply to the Anticipatory Bail Application of human rights activist and educationist Dr Anand Teltumbde. The court has adjourned the case till February 11 and also provided Dr Teltumbde protection from arrest till it pronounces its decision in the matter.
Dr Teltumbde had been whisked away from the Mumbai airport in the wee hours of Saturday and arrested even as he was all set to move the Bombay High Court seeking anticipatory bail in a case that appears to be politically motivated in its objective to crush dissenting voices like that of the much respected professor from Goa Institute of Management. The arrest was in direct violating of the Supreme Court order that had granted him protection from arrest in order to allow him to move Bombay High Court in the first place!
Speaking to media persons in Mumbai on February 4, Dr Teltumbde had dubbed his arrest as “the vilest post-independence plot by the state against its own citizens." He added, "Arresting me on such flimsy grounds is a direct attack on the country’s democratic principles.”
On Tuesday at a press conference organised in Mumbai, senior journalists and fellow human rights defenders such as P Sainath, Niranjan Takle, Urmila Pawar and Jatin Desai expressed solidarity with Dr Teltumbde and vowed to keep fighting for justice for all the activists who have been falsely accused of being involved in the Bhima Koregaon violence.
Explaining how the intensity of oppression by the state increased over time, P Sainath said, "Earlier land was stolen from the poor and given away to corporates. Anyone who opposed this was targeted. I know people who are facing some 70-80 cases!" He added, "What used to be an exception, increasingly became the norm. This whole process of criminalisation of dissent has reached the middle and upper middle classes a little late."