Rights

Forum for RTE 'Disappointed' by SC Decision on Anand Teltumbde's Anticipatory Bail

It also demanded the repeal of the UAPA, which "allows the government to violate the constitutional rights of citizens with impunity".

New Delhi: The All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) has expressed disappointment over the Supreme Court’s decision to reject anticipatory bail to AIFRTE’s presidium member professor Anand Teltumbde for a case registered against him under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The AIFRTE has called on over 80 member organisations across 22 states, and other democratic organisations and individuals across the country to register their protest and demand the repeal of the draconian UAPA, which “allows the government to violate the constitutional rights of citizens with impunity”. The forum has also announced its decision to launch a massive and continuous campaign of public awareness against the harassment of Prof. Teltubmde.

Teltumbde, who is an alumnus of IIM-Ahmedabad, an IIT professor, the current senior professor and chair of Big Data Analytics at Goa Institute of Management (GIM) and a noted scholar caste-class and public policy issues, has been charged with having links to banned Maoist organisations.

The statement released by AIFRTE  said that NDA-led government had used the outbreak of violence during the protest by Dali organisations on the 200th anniversary of the battle against the Peshwas at Bhima-Koregaon in 2018 to target activists.

Also read: Why We Must Defend Anand Teltumbde

The statement pointed out that reactionary forces had attacked the gathering, while the “police looked on but did nothing and clearly established the administration’s complicity in the violence”. The Pune police then hatched a conspiracy theory to protect “the leading agent provocateurs” while alleging that violence was instigated by speakers at the Elgaar Parishad meeting.

From June 2018 onwards, a number of civil liberties activists and human rights lawyers were arrested for being ‘Maoist sympathisers’ and continue to remain imprisoned to this day. Professor Teltumbde’s name was added to the supplementary chargesheet after it was alleged that evidence in the form of a letter was found on the computer of one of the arrested.

The statement by AIFRTE also noted Teltumbde’s professional achievements including his rank amongst the top 20 professionals to have influenced the development of IT in India by DataQuest. Teltumbde had also received several prestigious awards and has written more than 27 books, contributed 50 chapters to books edited by eminent authors, and written widely in newspapers, magazines and popular journals.

Emphasising Teltumbde’s personal background, the statement made a reference to his humble beginnings and commended his quest to remain involved in “the struggles of the oppressed and the downtrodden as a leading civil rights activist and theoretician of sources of social injustice and oppression”.

The entire text of the statement has been reproduced below.

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AIFRTE is shocked, outraged and deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s rejection of anticipatory bail to its Presidium member Prof. Anand Teltumbde, an IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus, IIT Professor, and currently Senior Professor and Chair, Big Data Analytics at Goa Institute of Management (GIM). Prof Teltumbde is also a noted scholar of caste-class and public policy issues, and a Leading Public Intellectual and Democratic and Educational Rights Activist.  The case registered against him under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) alleges that he has links with banned Maoist organizations.

The BJP/RSS-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Central government had in 2018 used the outbreak of violence during the powerful protest by Dalit organizations marking the 200th anniversary of the battle against the Peshwas at Bhima-Koregaon to target leading civil liberties and human rights peace activists.

Reactionary forces had attacked the massive gathering at the memorial on January 1, 2018, with stone pelting, beating people and burning stalls. As is now becoming increasingly common, the police looked on but did nothing and clearly established the administration’s complicity in the violence. Videos on WhatsApp showed saffron flag bearers shouting slogans in the name of Ekbote and Bhide chasing and beating Dalits who were caught unawares. Many were injured, their vehicles damaged, and stalls burnt down.

To protect the leading agent provocateurs, Milind Ekbote of Samastha Hindutva Aghadi and Sambhaji Bhide of Shiv Chhatrapati Pratishthan who are out on bail and against whom proceedings have not moved, the Pune police concocted a “conspiracy theory” alleging that the violence was incited by speakers at the Elgaar Parishad meeting held in Pune the previous day. The meeting had been convened by Justices Kolse-Patil and P.B. Sawant but the police claimed to have “evidence” that the organizers had a nexus with banned Maoist organizations. Consequently, from June 2018 onwards a number of well-known civil liberties activists and human rights lawyers were arrested as `Maoist sympathizers’ and they remain imprisoned even today under the UAPA.

Prof. Anand Teltumbde’s name was added to the supplementary chargesheet in the case which was filed in February 2019. He had not even attended the Elgaar Parishad. The evidence against him is said to be a letter found on the computer of one of those arrested earlier. Cyber forensic analysis of the hard disk of the computer has shown the presence of malware which allows remote access to the computer and casts grave doubts about the so-called `evidence’ found.  Now the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the National Investigation Agency (NIA), to whom the case was handed over last month after the new Maharashtra government promised a review of the police case against the human rights lawyers and civil liberties activists, has claimed that custodial interrogation of Prof. Teltumbde has become `highly necessary’.

It is necessary to emphasize Prof. Teltumbde’s professional achievements as an expert in frontline technologies. He has been ranked amongst the top 20 professionals to have influenced the development of IT in India by DataQuest for three consecutive years, received several prestigious awards and has a proven record of over three decades in conceptualizing, designing and implementing innovative systems in all spheres of the oil and gas sector. CEO of a holding Company, and member of the Boards of its subsidiaries for 7 years, Prof. Teltumbde has been member of the Strategy, Executive, IT Strategy and Retail Councils of a Fortune 500 company (BPCL) for 12 years. He has written more than 27 books, contributed 50 chapters to books edited by eminent authors, and writes widely in newspapers, magazines and popular journals. He has published more than 20 Research papers in foreign journals and served as a leading Referee and member on their boards, besides having presented papers at international conferences. He is and has been visiting professor at leading institutions in India and abroad.

Born in a family of landless labourers in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district, Anand Teltumbde, despite his outstanding professional successes, continued to empathize with and remain involved in the struggles of the oppressed and the downtrodden as a leading civil rights activist and theoretician of sources of social injustice and oppression. He is married to the grand-daughter of Baba Saheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

His role as a leading member of the Presidium of AIFRTE over the past ten years has been of enormous value to the organization and has attracted large numbers of activists to the cause of a free and compulsory Common School System providing education in the mother tongue. This is the only way to ensure social justice and equality in education.

AIFRTE calls upon its more than 80 member organizations across 22 states, and other democratic organizations and individuals across the country to register their protest against this blatantly anti-democratic action and demand the repeal of the dictatorial UAPA which allows the government to violate the constitutional rights of citizens with impunity. AIFRTE has decided to launch a massive and continuous campaign of public awareness against the harassment of Prof. Teltubmde.

Prof. Jagmohan Singh, Punjab; Prof. Wasi Ahmed, Bihar; Sri Prabhakar Arade; Maharashtra, Prof. G. Haragopal, Telangana; Ramesh Patnaik, Andhra Pradesh; Prof. Madhu Prasad, Delhi; Prof. K. Chakradhar Rao Telangana; Prof. Anil Sadgopal, Madhya Pradesh; Prof. K. M. Shrimali, Delhi; and Prof. Zhatsu Terhuja, Nagaland

AIFRTE Presidium