New Delhi: The Maharashtra-based Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief and Dr. B.R Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar and his family on Saturday came out in defence of social activist Anand Teltumbde, who has been implicated in the Elgar Parishad case.
Addressing a press conference, Prakash and his family said Teltumbde has been “a part of us since 1983” and that they were extremely concerned about his “hounding” by the Pune Police. The VBA chief’s defence came after Teltumbde’s plea to quash the case was rejected by the Bombay high court recently.
“When in August 2018 the Pune Police implicated him in the now-infamous Elgar Parishad case, we were aghast but sure that the police would realise their mistake and if it goes to court, the court would quash the case.”
“Over the last two years we reared this notion. But recently when the high court rejected his petition and the vehemence with which the Central government took away the case to National Investigation Agency (NIA), the intentions of the state has become clearer that it wants to incarcerate him in jails for years.”
The family expressed hope that the Supreme Court would come to Teltumbde’s rescue.
Speaking to the press at Maharashtra Sadan in the national capital, Prakash said that Teltumbde was being targeted by the BJP government at the Centre as he is a part of the Ambedkar family.
“We also wish to make it clear that as a candid and original thinker, his opinions may not sound stereotypical but he is Ambedkarite at the core and has contributed to define Babasaheb Ambedkar’s ideas more than any living person today,” he said.
He said that Teltumbde, born in a poor family of landless labourers, had strived hard to emerge as an intellectual. “… he has earned laurels in academic passing from elite institutions like VNIT, IIM, Ahmedabad and earned his doctoral degree in the frontier science of Cybernetics. He ranks among the best educated persons in the world,” Prakash said.
Highlighting his professional achievements, Prakash also spoke on Teltumbde’s role as a member of the Maharashtra-based Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR). “[He] was elected as its General Secretary…even when he was outside Maharashtra,” the VBA president said.
“Such a person has been implicated in the fabricated case of Elgar Parishad, which he did not even attend. When he was illegally arrested by the Police, there was a wave of protests across the world at unprecedented scale. The process of Elgar Parishad case has amply revealed the fabrication of case. The case that stood on the confiscated digital devices, which in absence of the hash values remained wide open to be manipulated by the police must have been dismissed at the inception itself,” the leader said.
He expressed concern that the police had gone ahead with the case against him despite the fact that “nothing” was recovered from him.
If Teltumbde is arrested, he would be tried under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act which does not allow anticipatory bail. This may mean that Teltumbde could be in jail for years even at the time of trial.