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Dalit Leaders, Political Representatives Condemn Dr Teltumbde's Imminent Arrest on Ambedkar Jayanti

“It becomes our duty to come together at this hour and demand that the Indian authorities allow Dr. Teltumbde to live and write, to be a free spirit that enlivens our democratic selves.”
Dr Teltumbde

Ahead of the Anand Teltumbde’s surrender on April 14 [also the ocaasion of B R Ambedkar’s birth anniversary] in accordance with the Supreme Court order, Dalit, Adivasi, OBC and minority leaders have demanded that he be allowed “to live and write, to be a free spirit that enlivens our democratic selves”.

The Supreme Court, recently, had rejected the bail applications of Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha who were booked under the strict Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA for allegedly fomenting violence in the Bhima Koregaon event case.

At a time when courts are ensuring release of prisoners and undertrials across the country on bail in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid overcrowding in the prisons filled to the brim, Navlakh and Teltumbde [who are especially vulnerable to the infection owing to their age], will be forced to enter Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai. Several activists, academicians and members of civil society have opposed this decision and demanded that they be granted bail.

A statement, signed by leaders like D Raja, Prakash Ambedkar, Jignesh Mevani and Thol Thirumavalavan read: “This arrest reveals India’s deeply entrenched casteism for a ‘crime’ Dr.Teltumbde has not committed and for which no proof has been produced.”

Read the full statement below:

Dr. ANAND TELTUMBDE’S ARREST ON AMBEDKAR JAYANTI: A NATIONAL SHAME

Jai Bhim!

Coinciding with the upcoming Ambedkar Jayanti, Dr. Anand Teltumbde, one of India’s foremost public intellectuals and the strongest legatee of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s tradition of struggling for a truly democratic India, will be complying with the Supreme Court’s order to surrender to the jail authorities. He will be surrendering on the 14th April 2020, between 12 noon - 2 pm at the Sessions Court in Mumbai. This is both tragic and shameful for all Dalits, Adivasis, OBC, and minorities on many counts for all of India.

It marks a day

- on which this country will celebrate the 129th birth anniversary of one of its greatest minds and hearts, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and on which the mighty nationalist machinery seeks to crush the spirit that kept the flame of democracy alive in our midst;

- when even very repressive regimes around the world are releasing political prisoners in the face of the Corona virus, great minds like Dr. Teltumbde are incarcerated;

- when we allow the Constitutional rights of such a person like Dr. Teltumbde to be sidelined;

- when the arrest of Dr. Teltumbde will be an obnoxious warning of the casteist Manuvadi regime to Dalit, Adivasi, OBC and minority intellectuals not to raise their voices of protest.

This arrest reveals India’s deeply entrenched casteism for a ‘crime’ Dr.Teltumbde has not committed and for which no proof has been produced.

We, the undersigned, call upon the Dalit, Adivasi, OBC, and minority leadership to stand up and seek justice in the finest of traditions that Babasaheb has bequeathed to us. As Dr. Teltumbde writes in his latest book The Republic of Caste, “The wrath of the wretched scares the world.” It becomes our duty to come together at this hour and demand that the Indian authorities allow Dr. Teltumbde to live and write, to be a free spirit that enlivens our democratic selves, and remain the beacon that he is for educating, organizing, and agitating for a better India and a better world.

Let’s unite in the name of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.

Jai Bhim!

Signatories:

Dr. THOL THIRUMAVALAVAN, MP

Founder-President, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi

D. RAJA, MP (Rajya Sabha)

General Secretary, Communist Party of India

JIGNESH MEVANI, Independent MLA

Vadgam (Gujarat)

Dr. UDIT RAJ, Ex-MP

Indian National Congress
 
PRAKASH AMBEDKAR, Ex-MP

Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi

D. RAVIKUMAR, MP

General Secretary, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi

VINAY RATAN SINGH

National President, Bhim Army Bharat Ekta Mission

NAUSAD SOLANKI, MLA, Gujarat

Indian National Congress

Prof. Dr. SUJATHA SUREPALLY

Convenor, Bahujan Resistance Forum, Telangana

Dr. RAJKUMAR CHABBEWAL, MLA (Hoshiyarpur, Punjab)

Indian National Congress

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