Anand Teltumbde surrendered before the National Investigation Agency for his alleged involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon case.
By Pradnya Desai and Ishika Dangayach
April 14, 2020
On the 129th birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar, grandson-in-law Anand Teltumbde surrendered before the National Investigation Agency at Cumbala Hill, following the Supreme Court’s order last week.
Teltumbde was one among the Dalit rights activist at the Elgar Parishad accused of inciting violence in the Bhima-Koregaon incident that left one dead and several injured. He has been booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for having Maoist links.
He and a few others were said to have been plotting the assassination of the Prime Minister but the police did not find supporting evidence.
Parth, a journalist at the Firstpost posted a picture of Teltumbde before surrendering himself.
A day before the surrender, Teltumbde wrote an open letter. Here is an excerpt.
“When I was illegally arrested by Pune Police while still under the protection of the Supreme Court, a cyber-gang of Hindutva vandalized my Wikimedia page. This page is a public page and for years I was not even aware of it. They firstly deleted all information and only wrote, “He has a Maoist brother… his house was raided … he was arrested for links with Maoist”, etc.
Some students later told me that whenever they tried restoring the page, or editing the page, this gang would pounce upon and delete everything and put up derogatory content. Ultimately, Wikimedia intervened and the page stabilized with some of their negative content.”
He also said that the police forced open his house, video-recorded it but did not arrest him even if they could.
A black flag hoisted outside B. R. Ambedkar’s house.
Teltumbde along with Gautam Navlakha were asked to surrender themselves by the Supreme Court on April 14.
“My hope rests on a speedy and fair trial for myself and all my fellow co-accused. This alone will enable me to clear my name, and walk free, having also used the time in jail to rid myself of acquired habits,” said Gautam Navlakha in a news report.
On December 21, 2018, the Bombay High Court dismissed a petition filed by Teltumbde that sought quashing of the First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Pune Police against him. The Supreme Court also dismissed his petition in January, last year.
Towards the end of March 2020, the Supreme Court had suggested the release of under-trial prisoners to avert community transmission of Coronavirus in the jails. Tel tumbde’s lawyer reportedly said that “Surrendering and going to jail at this time would be akin to sending them to the death row.”
Anand Teltumbde has authored four books exploring India’s caste relations. He was also teaching at IIT Kharagpur and Goa Institute of Management.
Image Courtesy- National Investigation Agency