Prominent Journalists, Politicians Condemn The Arrest of Anand Teltumbde & Gautam Navlakha

After Teltumbde and Navlakha surrendered before the NIA, many journalists, activists and politicians condemned the actions of the central government.

Mumbai| Civil rights activists and scholars Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha surrendered before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday. Both Teltumbde and Navlakha are accused in the Bhima-Koregaon violence and for the alleged links with Maoists in organizing the Elgar Parishad event in December 2017.

After Teltumbde and Navlakha surrendered before the NIA, many journalists, activists and politicians condemned the actions of the central government. Terming the arrests as “attack on dissenters”, they demanded the release of both Teltumbde and Navlakha.

Prakash Reddy, CPI(M) politburo member, talking to the HW News, said, “This cannot be termed as surrender in the first place. Nobody wanted to get away from the law. They weren’t underground. The time given by SC has elapsed. The procedure in the court has started and it’ll take its course.”

Reddy further added, “The state instead of fighting coronavirus is crushing the democratic dissent and they are going on with their old tactics. Whoever questions the state, they are termed as ‘Urban Naxals’.”

He further stressed,” The activists are being falsely implicated in the Bhima-Koregaon case and they weren’t even present there at the time of the event. The whole charge sheet is cooked up with rabid charges such as conspiracy to assassinate the Prime Minister. The same charges were not even mentioned in the Supreme Court. So definitely the charge sheet was cooked up.”

Kumar Ketkar, the Member of Rajya Sabha and renowned Journalist told HW News, “The arrest of Anand Teltumbde in such a way is a sign of cruelty by the governemnt. In fact, the allegations raised on Teltumbde are completely false. The police are a participant in cooking up this false story. The charges were already false, and now in a period of coronavirus pandemic, the government has made the arrest. This only goes to show that this government lacks basic humanity.”

Ketkar further added, “This type of behavior can be observed in all fascist states. We do not accept that we officially have a fascist state. But the recent behaviour of the state only goes to prove the fascist tactics they have imposed on people like Teltumbde. He should be released immediately and all the charges raised against him should be dismissed.”

Ketkar also said that this action taken on Teltumbde is a direct threat and signal to all the people who dare to speak against the government. Since Teltumbde is a Dalit activist, Ketkar said, leaders like Ramdas Athawale, Ram Vilas Paswan should also clarify their views on this action by the government.

D. Raja, CPI leader and Former Member of Rajya Sabha gave his reaction to HW News stating,” My party will issue a statement against this. The previous Maharashtra government and Union government didn’t agree to constitute an SIT. Already some 9 activists are in prison, now Teltumbde and Navlakha have also been arrested. Anybody who questions this government or criticizes the politics of this government is tagged as anti-national and urban Naxal. This attitude of the government is deplorable. We want all these arrested activists to be released and not harassed any further.”

He further added, “Even the corona pandemic has not changed the character of BJP, RSS. They have given up their agenda. They don’t have any argument. Therefore they call you anti-national, Urban naxal and what not when you question their government.”

On the other hand, many journalists and politicians took on twitter to express their dismay over the arrests of the activists.

Senior journalist, Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted saying, “On day of Ambedkar Jayanti, we are jailing a scholar who represents the fine traditions of India’s battle for civil rights? That too under UAPA? While robber barons loot and get away? Wonder what Babasaheb would say.”

The Dalit activist and MLA from Gujarat Jignesh Mewani also took on twitter and wrote, “A just society is that society in which ascending sense of reverence and descending sense of contempt is dissolved into the creation of a compassionate society.” ― If Babasaheb was alive today, he would call India an extremely unjust and morally corrupt society.”

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