After a high tension day, Prof. Anand Teltumbde has been released by Special Court in Pune and has protection as per SC order till February 11. As per lawyers, the court held the detention “illegal”. This comes as relief to his family and supporters who were thrown into a complete state of shock with the arbitrary arrest.
The Pune police arrested Prof. Teltumbde from Mumbai airport today at 3.30 am from Mumbai airport. The arrest took place despite a Supreme Court order which granted him interim protection till February 11.
Prof. Teltumbde has been charged with the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) by the Pune police. Police had alleged that he had links with Maoist organisations and that his name surfaced during the enquiries made into violence that erupted at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018.
Yesterday, Prof. Teltumbde’s Anticipatory Bail Application (ABA) was rejected by the Pune sessions court. On December 21, Bombay High Court dismissed the petition filed by Prof. Teltumbde. Later, it was challenged in SC but the SC too dismissed the petition.
Summary of Teltumbde’s petition
In an open letter after his petition was dismissed in the SC, Prof. Teltumbde had said, “There is not an iota of unlawfulness in either my voluminous writings or selfless activism. Rather, my entire academic career and corporate career of nearly four decades has been without a single blemish and is an exemplar of integrity of the highest degree”.
Prof. Teltumbde received widespread support from various national, international organisations, individuals, students, and many others. Over 90 organisations, 50 institutions and intellectuals including Noam Chomsky, Jean Dreze, Sukhdeo Thorat, Vimal Thorat, Cornel West and Chirstophe Jaffrelot have written to UN secretary general Antonio Guterres asking him to intervene and withdraw the 'fabricated charges' against Anand Teltumbde. Terming the charges to be "one of the severe most human rights violations" against freedom of speech and dissent, the letter by international civil rights activists said "We therefore urge the United Nations to engage with the Government of India to immediately withdraw all charges against Dr. Teltumbde and oblige in serving justice and protecting democracy from the perils of tyranny.”
After his arrest today morning, various left and Ambedkarite organisations have expressed their shock, outrage and dismay at this complete disregard of SC order of interim protection and relentless hounding of Prof. Teltumbde.
Twitter was enraged with his illegal arrest with hashtag #AnandTeltumbde trending for several hours in the morning. Noted activists, lawyers, writers such as Teesta Setalvad, Indira Jaising, Siddharth Verdarajan, Jignesh Mevani tweeted on the arrests.
Prof. Teltumbde was being produced in the Sessions Court at around 2 pm today. His wife Rama and advocate and Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar were in court. High Court senior counsel Mihir Desai told Sabrangindia that the anticipatory bail application will now be filed in the Bombay High Court on Monday.
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