To arrest him is to try and silence a powerful and unique Dalit voice with an unimpeachable intellectual track record. His impending arrest cannot but be seen as a political act. It will be a shameful and shocking moment in our history, said Arundhati Roy.
New Delhi: Professor Dr Anand is an IIM-A alumnus, IIT Professor, Executive Director of BPCL, Ex-MD & CEO of Petronet India, Senior Professor and Chair, Big Data Analytics in GIM, author of 26 books, columnist in EPW, writer of innumerable articles, a noted scholar of caste-class and public policy issues, Leading Public Intellectual and Democratic and Educational Rights Activist. Now he is facing an imminent threat of arrest as an ‘Urban Maoist’ and he calls it the vilest post-independence plot by the state.
The appeal for quashing the false FIR against Dr Anand, filed by the Pune Police was rejected on 14 January by the Supreme Court and gave four weeks to seek pre-arrest bail from the competent court. Until now Anand felt confident that whatever charges the Police levied could be proved as criminal fabrication once they landed before the court.
An FIR was filed against Anand Teltumbde in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima violence and for his alleged Maoist links. Teltumbe had said in his petition that he was in Pune on Dec 31 and Jan 1 but did not attend the event even though he was the co-convener.
The apex court also refused to interfere with the ongoing investigation in the case.
However, a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Ashok Bhushan and S K Kaul extended the interim protection from arrest granted to Teltumbde by the Bombay High Court by four weeks. The apex court said Teltumbde could seek regular bail from the competent trial court in the meantime.
“An illness is upon us. Hot on the heels of the news that a charge sheet has been filed against three student leaders of Jawaharlal Nehru University – Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya – accusing them of Sedition, comes the news that the ground is being prepared for the arrest of the well-known intellectual and columnist, Anand Teltumbde, by the Maharashtra Police. He has been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which means he can be held without bail for months together on the basis of little or no evidence. The crimes he is being accused of, just as in the case of a host of other teachers, lawyers, activists and ordinary people who have been incarcerated in their hundreds, are beyond preposterous,” noted author Arundhati Roy wrote.
“Anand Teltumbde is one of our 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. To arrest him is to try and silence a powerful and unique Dalit voice with an unimpeachable intellectual track record. His impending arrest cannot but be seen as a political act. It will be a shameful and shocking moment in our history,” she added.
The Elgar Parishad event at Shaniwarwada in Pune was held on December 31, 2017. Several activists had allegedly made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements at the event, leading to the violence, the police had said. Many were named in an FIR lodged on January 8, 2018. Eight more activists, including Teltumbde, were named in another FIR filed in October 2018, a report said.
Some of the activists facing a case in connection with the event are Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha.
The battle of Bhima Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818, between Peshwa Bajirao II, with an army of 20,000 infantry and 8,000 cavalries, that vastly outnumbered the 800-odd men commanded by Captain FF Staunton of the East India Company. Narratives of the battle vary, but most historians agree that the British army comprised 500 Mahars, the most populous of the Dalit sub-castes in the state.