The impending arrest of Dalit intellectual and writer Dr Anand Teltumbde on Ambedkar Jayanti is a national shame and it reveals India’s deeply entrenched casteism, says Dalit politicians across India in a statement. On March 16, Dr Anand Teltumbde and journalist Gautam Navlakha were denied anticipatory bail from the Supreme Court in the framed case related to the Bhim Koregaon case. Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha were booked by the Pune police under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
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.
“April 14th marks the 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. It marks the day 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. It marks the day when we allow the Constitutional rights of such a person like Dr. Teltumbde to be sidelined. 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.”
The statement is signed by Tholar Thirumavalavan, MP founder-President of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, D. RAJA, Rajya Sabha MP and General Secretary of Communist Party of India, Jignesh Mewani, Independent MLA
of Vadgam (Gujarat), Dr. Udit Raj Ex-MP of Indian National Congress, Prakash Ambedkar, Ex-MP and founder of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, D. Ravikumar, MP and General Secretary of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Vinay Ratan Singh, National President of Bhim Army Bharat Ekta Mission, Nausad Solanki, MLA from Gujarat
Indian National Congress, Prof. Dr. Sujatha Surepally, Convenor of Bahujan Resistance Forum, Telangana, and Dr. Rajkumar Chabbewal, MLA (Hoshiyarpur, Punjab) Indian National Congress.
The signatories states that Dr. Teltumbde’s arrest reveals India’s deeply entrenched casteism for a ‘crime’ he has not committed and for which no proof has been produced. They calls upon the Dalit, Adivasi, OBC, and minority leadership to stand up and seek justice in the finest of traditions that Babasaheb has bequeathed.
“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.” Dr Teltumbde the married great-grand daughter of Babasaheb Dr BR Ambedkar.
The statement calls up to unite in the name of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.
“The recent COVID-19 pandemic is adversely affecting the lives and livelihood of billions across the world. For us, this has meant not being able to fly to India to spend the precious few days remaining before the arrest with our family, at a time when our parents need us the most. Our father stood by us through every milestone of our lives, but today, it pains us that we are not around to hug him or hold his hands. We fail to understand what crime he is supposed to have committed that he needs to undergo this torture.” Dr Teltumbde’s daughters, Prachi Teltumbde and Rashmi Teltumbde writes in an open letter published in The Caravan on March 27th.
The perpetrators of violence on Dalits who assembled at Bhima Koregaon on December 31 2017 and the consequent day, January 1 of 2018 to celebrate the 200th anniversary victory of Mahar army over Peshwas, Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, leaders of Hindu terrorist organizations are yet to be arrested.
Even when the Supreme Court ordered for the parole release of prisoners who are convicted for seven years and under trial prisoners as well for a period of six weeks, the human rights activists who were arrested in connection with the same case was not released on parole. most of them are aged above fifty and is in bad health.