Pune police illegally arrests Prof. Teltumbde defying SC order

Written by Sushmita | Published on: February 2, 2019

The Pune police arrested writer, intellectual and academic Prof. Anand 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.

Image Courtesy: V Sreenivasa Murthy / The Hindu

The news was confirmed by Adv. Pradeep Mandhyan of the Bombay High Court who spoke to Inspector Indulkar from Pune. Inspector Indulkar arrested Prof. Teltumbde from the airport. Indulkar claimed Prof. Teltumbde was being arrested since his bail had been rejected by the Pune trial court.

Earlier, Prof. Teltumbde was 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.

The Pune police had also arrested Adv. Surendra Gadling and poet Varavara Rao in a 2016 case even as they were already in the Yerwada Central prison after they were arrested in June and October respectively, all allegedly in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case.

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) condemned the arrest of Anand Teltumbde saying, “It may be noted that the Supreme Court of India has granted this renownedscholar four weeks protection from arrest to enable him to obtain bail. That protection period ends only on 11th February.” Criticising the government, it said, “This shows the highly vindictive policy of the BJP government led by Modi against anyone who is critical of their disruptive communal agenda. In the name of combating 'urban naxals' the Sangh Parivar game plan of launching a witch-hunt against human rights activists and secular and progressive scholars cannot be tolerated.” The CPI (M) has called upon all democratic and secular forces to strongly protest against this anti-democratic authoritarian assault on freedom of association and expression.

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 is being produced at 2 pm today. His wife Rama and Adv. And Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar will be in court.

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