Rights

UN's Support Sought for Withdrawal of Charges Against Anand Teltumbde

In a letter with over 150 signatories, the charges against Teltumbde were called fabricated and the case a severe human rights violation.

New Delhi: Over 90 organisations, 50 institutions and intellectuals 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. In total, the letter has over 150 signatories.

The case against Teltumbde – who is accused along with ten other activists and lawyers of links with the Naxalites and involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence – is “one of the severe most human rights violations” against freedom of speech and dissent, they said.

They pointed out that Teltumbde was not even present at the Bhima Koregaon event on December 31, 2017 and criticised the Pune police for producing “fabricated letters”.

Also Read: Who’s Afraid of Anand Teltumbde?

“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. We appreciate an opportunity to meet yourself and your team in person at your earliest convenience and present our concerns,” the letter said.

The full text has been reproduced below.

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With deep anguish and mounting concern, we, a worldwide community that reveres democratic values and human rights, urge the United Nations to intervene with the Government of India as a last resort in the immediate withdrawal of the fabricated charges by the Pune police against Dr. Anand Teltumbde, Senior Professor and Chair, Big Data Analytics at the Goa Institute of Management. Dr. Teltumbde’s imminent arrest by the State is one of the severe most human rights violations against freedom of speech and dissent and will set a precedent for suppression of all progressive and intellectual thinkers by the fascist regime.

Dr. Teltumbde is one of India’s leading contemporary public intellectuals and an internationally renowned scholar. He is the longest-standing columnist at the Economic and Political Weekly (one of India’s best-known internationally acclaimed social science journals), General Secretary of the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), and presidium member of the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE). Dr. Teltumbde is a prolific writer, with twenty-six books (in English and Marathi) and research articles on data analytics, cybernetics, caste-class and public policy issues. His most recent publications include Republic of Caste and the co-edited anthology The Radical in Ambedkar: Critical Reflections by Penguin Random House. His writings have been translated into several Indian languages.

Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen and Sudhir Dhawale. Credit: PTI/Twitter/Facebook

Over his long career, Dr. Teltumbde has consistently been on the side of social justice, democracy, and the Indian Constitution. His books and articles are taught in universities the world over. He has supported democratic struggles in the country against caste- and religion-based violence as a representative of very large numbers of ordinary people whose voices and hopes he bears. His writings –scholarly, technical, and popular– have been very central to India’s critical thinking. His lengthy resume demonstrates his far-reaching contributions to several fields of academic inquiry, as well as to bringing about progressive social change.

Despite his professional success, which could have meant a luxurious and carefree retirement, Dr Teltumbde has instead contributed his intellect and experience back to our society via teaching, writing and contributing to democracy through people’s movements. Dr. Teltumbde has been invited by organizations/forums worldwide for his scholarship and he has always expressed his views on making India progressive, inclusive and harmonious.

It is preposterous that Dr. Teltumbde is facing imminent arrest under the undemocratic Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) based on a fabricated case filed by the Pune police in India under which ten other eminent persons, including human rights activists, lawyers, and public intellectuals, are already under arrest. The case relates to the organizing of a peaceful meeting on 31st December, 2017 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Last Anglo-Maratha battle, which took place at Bhima-Koregaon, Maharashtra, India, where large numbers of Dalit soldiers were martyred. Justice P. B. Sawant, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, and Justice B. G. Kolse-Patil, an ex-judge of the Bombay High Court, were co-organizers of this event. In point of fact, Dr. Teltumbde was not even present at the event.

Also Read: ‘Bizarre, Concocted Theories’: The Many Holes in the Case Against Anand Teltumbde

Following it, several fabricated letters addressed to a “Comrade Anand” were released by the Pune police as ‘evidence’ for the justification for his arrest. Each of the so-called charges by the Pune police has been refuted with documentary proof by Dr. Teltumbde. Notwithstanding this proof, the false charges have continued in a concerted campaign to intimidate and silence Dr. Teltumbde. As is very well known, under the UAPA, these fabrications are enough to detain Dr. Teltumbde.

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. We appreciate an opportunity to meet yourself and your team in person at your earliest convenience and present our concerns.

Organizations:

1. Ambedkar International Mission, AIM USA
2. Ambedkar International Mission, AIM, Canada
3. Ambedkar International Mission, AIM, Australia
4. Ambedkar International Mission, AIM, Oman
5. Ambedkar International Mission, AIM, UAE
6. Ambedkar International Mission, AIM, Qatar
7. Ambedkar International Mission, AIM, Japan
8. Ambedkar International Mission, AIM, Malaysia
9. Ambedkar International Mission, AIM, Brunei
10. Ambedkar International Mission, AIM, India
11. Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA), USA
12. Ambedkar International Center (AIC), USA
13. Boston Study Group (BSG), USA
14. Equality Labs, USA
15. Ambedkarite Buddhist Association of Texas (ABAT), USA
16. Guru Ravidas Sabha, New York, USA
17. Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC), USA
18. Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC), USA
19. India Civil Watch, USA
20. India Civil Watch, Canada
21. South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), Vancouver, Canada
22. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Association for Education (BAIAE), Japan
23. Ambedkar Mission, Canada
24. Ambedkar International Mission, London
25. CasteWatch UK
26. International Commission for Dalit Rights, USA
27. Samyak Prabodhan Pratishthan, Bangalore, India
28. South Asia Research and Resource Centre (CERAS), Montreal, Canada
29. Punjabi Literary and Cultural Association, Winnipeg, Canada
30. Democracy, Equality and Secularism in South Asia, Winnipeg, Canada
31. Dr Ambedkar Buddhist Organization, Birmingham
32. India Network of USA
33. American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin
34. Dr Ambedkar Mission Society Incorporated Australia
35. Sri Guru Ravidass Sabha, Australia
36. Sri Guru Ravidass Sabha, France
37. CPI(M-L) Liberation
38. Dalit Women’s Network for Solidarity
39. Tamil Nadu Alternative Journalists and Writers Forum
40. Students of Harvard University
41. Kaamgaar Patrika, Mumbai
42. Shiksha Satyagrah
43. Dalit Intellectual Collective
44. Kabilar Pari Friendship Study Circle, California
45. Buddha Dhamma Association
46. Siddhartha Foundation, Bangalore
47. Ambedkar Mission Society, Bedford, UK
48. SOAS India Society
49. All India People’s Forum
50. Punjab Buddhist Society
51. All India Samata Saink Dal
52. Dalits Media Watch
53. VNIT Development and Public Policy Forum
54. Arakshanvadi Abhiyanta Vicharmanch
55. CPI(ML) Liberation Karnataka
56. Navayana
57. Manavatavadi Bahuudeshiya Sanstha, Maharashtra
58. Episcopal Diocese of New York and DC
59. Coalition for a Democratic India, USA
60. Friends for Education International, USA
61. Global Empower Network
62. AISA
63. Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers
64. International Association of People’s Lawyers
65. Progressive organisation for women
66. Savitribai Ambedkar Study Circle
67. Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla
68. Students Uprising Movement for Social Welfare (SUMS) TN
69. Ohol Art Studio
70. Tamil Nadu Youth Party
71. Sanghakaya Foundation
72. Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia
73. South Asia Solidarity Group, UK
74. Dalit Solidarity Forum, UK
75. Babasaheb Ambedkar Study Circle
76. Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus
77. Progressive Students’ Forum, Mumbai
78. Telangana Save Education Committee
79. Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance, UK
80. Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations, UK
81. Students Uprising Movement for Social Welfare (TN)
82. Manidhan Padhippagam, Tamil Nadu
83. Ek Potlee Ret Ki
84. New Internationalist
85. IWA (GB)
86. South Asia Multidiciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ)
87. Anti Imperialist Movement (AIM), Tamilnadu
88. The Feminist Collective
89. Ambedkar Times
90. Bahujan Agitational movement
91. National Campaign to Save Bahujan movement
92. Student-Youth Coordination Against Police Atrocity In Kerala

Student, staff and faculty of:

93. City University of New York
94. University of Massachusetts, Amherst
95. William Paterson University of New Jersey, USA
96. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
97. Harvard University
98. University of Edinburgh
99. Simon Fraser University
100. University of Göttingen
101. University of Oklahoma
102. University of London
103. King’s College London
104. School of Oriental and African Studies
105. Indian Institute of Management
106. University of Massachusetts, Boston
107. CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS
108. Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS), Germany
109. University of Cincinnati
110. University of California Santa Cruz
111. Bowdoin College
112. Cornell University
113. Columbia University
114. University of Pennsylvania
115. Ghent University
116. York University
117. American University
118. IIT, Mumbai
119. University of Delhi
120. The University of Texas, Austin
121. University of Michigan
122. Williams College
123. O.P. Jindal Global University
124. Virginia Tech
125. Worcester State
126. Catholic University Leuven
127. Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius University
128. Australian National University
129. University of Southern California
130. IIAS, Leiden
131. University of Namibia
132. Birkbeck, University of London
133. London School of Economics
134. University of Illinois at Chicago
135. IIT Kharagpur
136. IIT Bombay
137. Jawaharlal Nehru University
138. University of Hyderabad
139. National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration
140. Tata Institute of Social Sciences
141. West Bengal State University
142. Bharathidasan University, Tamilnadu, India
143. The American University of Paris
144. The Coalition for Defense of the Constitution and Democracy (CDCD)

Individuals

145. Noam Chomsky
146. Cornel West
147. Christophe Jaffrelot
148. Jean Dreze
149. Prof Sukhdeo Thorat
150. Prof Vimal Thorat