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Absolute falsehood meant to discredit us, say activists on Maharashtra police linking them with Maoist extremism

Stan Swamy, Sudha Bharadwaj, Anand Teltumbde
Counterview Desk
Referring to a series of media briefings by Maharashtra police, seeking to implicate several senior activists -- who were either arrested or their houses were simultaneously raided on August 28 -- for their "Maoist" links, three of them, Father Stan Swamy, Sudha Bharadwaj and Anand Teldumbde, have gone public to term it as "absolute fabrication".

Stan Swamy's statement

In his open statement, Swamy, those house was raided in Ranchi, Chhattisgarh, says that "powerful interests" within the government have not only have foisted a case of sedition against me in Jharkhand but now have included him in a false case that links me with banned organizations at national level in order to "discredit" him.
According to Stan Swamy, "Maharashtra police held a press conference in Mumbai on August 31, 2018. Additional Director-General (law and order) of Maharashtra police Mr. Parambir Singh told the media that in relation to the incident of Bhima-Koregaon, initially a FIR was lodged on January 8, 2018. According to him the name of Stan Swamy was added in the aforesaid FIR on August 23 along with the names of Arun Fereira, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalvez, Sudha Bhardwaj, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde.
He continues, "In the same press conference, ADG Parambir Singh talked about a letter allegedly written by Adv. Sudha Bhardwaj.
"This letter, according to Maharashtra police, mentions that for the work of Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC) Stan Swamy had been appointed by comrade Prashant. It is also mentioned in the aforesaid letter that Sudha Bharadwaj had asked Stan Swamy to provide some funds for the activities of CPI (Maoist), but Stan Swamy did not make any definite commitment in this regard.
"I would like to make it clear on my part with regard to the content of the said letter that Sudha Bhardwaj never asked me for any fund for the activities as mentioned in the letter. It is nothing but complete concoction and absolute falsehood that is being propagated by the Maharashtra police. Sudha Bhardwaj has also repeatedly denied the veracity of the said letter and has said that it is a fabricated letter.
"Further, I believe that the possible reason behind this concoction of the case against me along with Sudha Bhardwaj is that I have been the convener of PPSC formed in December, 2015. I wish to make it clear that PPSC was formed purely to help under trial prisoners and it has no link whatsoever with any banned organizations.
"I have also filed a PIL in the Jharkhand High Court at Ranchi for the speedy trial of the under trial prisoners, languishing in the jails of Jharkhand. Taking serious note of my PIL, Hon’ble Jharkhand High Court on January 8, 2018 ordered the state of Jharkhand to provide all relevant and necessary information from all the jails of Jharkhand which must reveal the reasons for undue delay in the trial of these under trial prisoners. Still the proceedings in said PIL are going on in Jharkhand High Court.
"In addition to this PIL, I have been raising awareness among Adivasi and Dalit people for their rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution especially the rights of the adivasi community provided in the Fifth Schedule and their right of self governance through Gram Sabhas as provided in PESA Act; I have also tried to make them aware of the judgment of the Supreme Court that ‘the owner of the land is also the owner of the subsoil minerals.’ I have also raised voice against the formation of Land Bank that intends to take over the 'commons' such as roads, rivers, ponds, burial grounds, community forest lands etc which are traditionally used by the community.
"I fear that these activities of mine have angered the powerful interests within the government that they not only have foisted a case of sedition against me in Jharkhand but now have included me in a false case that links me with banned organizations at national level in order to discredit me together with other intellectuals, legal professionals and social activists raising our voices for the rights of poorest of poor people in the state of Jharkhand and all over India."

Sudha Bharadwaj's statement

Earlier, Sudha Bharadwaj, who was arrested in an early morning swoop in Delhi, made the following statement through her advocate Vrinda Grover on August 31, referring to the letter purportedly written by her suggesting her Maoist links, said, "It is a totally concocted letter fabricated to criminalize me and other human rights lawyers, activists and organisations."
In her statement, she said, "It is a mixture of innocuous and publicly available facts and baseless fabrication. Various legal and democratic activities such as meetings, seminars, protests have been sought to be delegitimised by alleging that they are funded by Maoists.
"A number of human rights lawyers, activists and organisations have been deliberately named to cast a stigma over them, to obstruct their work and incite hatred against them.
"There is an effort to delegitimise IAPL an association of lawyers whose president is Retd J. Hospet Suresh and which has been active in speaking up against attacks on lawyers.
"I categorically state that I have never given Rs. 50, 000 to hold any programme in Moga. Nor do I know any Ankit from Maharashtra or Com Ankit who is in touch with Kashmiri separatists.
"I know Gautam Navlakha, a senior and respected human rights activist whose name has been mentioned in a manner to criminalize and incite hatred against him.
"I know Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group well and have never solicited any funds for them least of all from any banned organisation. I categorically state that their work has been absolutely legitimate and legal.
"I know Advocate Degree Prasad Chouhan a dalit human rights activist who is active in PUCL and works with the Human Rights Law Network. Totally baseless allegation has been made against him.
"There has been an effort to criminalize and incite hatred against various lawyers activists and organisations who have exposed HR violations in Bastar, Chhattisgarh.
"I once again declare that this is a fabricated letter, which I had refuted when it was flashed on Republic TV on July 4, and which has not even been brought before either the Pune Court nor the CJM Faridabad while seeking to whisk me away to Pune."

Anand Teldumbde's statement

Referring to a news item in "The Hindu", Dr Anand Teltumbde has said it is total falsehood to say that that he has been going abroad for meetings to collect funds for Maoists. The news item published in "The Hindu" under the heading “Activist held meets abroad: police”, according to him, says:
"The arrested accused claimed they needed to stoke violence and tension and maximize the death of a Dalit youth during the Bhima Koregaon riots, Mr Singh claimed, while reading out from a purported letter written by Mr Anand Teltumbde to Mr Wilson in January this year. According to Mr. Singh the letter said, 'It is time we carried out a big strike as is being suggested by VV (Varavara Rao) and Surendra', referring to 80 vehicles burnt on the instruction of Mr Rao."
Denying the allegation, Dr Teltumbde said, "I am stunned to see such white lies being spread by the police to malign me. I state that while I know Rona since his JNU days and thereafter off and on as an activist, but never had I written to him even an email, leave apart letter. It is distressing that the state stoops to such lows to malign a defenceless citizen like me, who even in the face of it could not be connected with such bizarre activities.
"I have been an alumnus of IIM Ahmadabad, and had my entire career in corporate world ending with Managing Director and CEO of a holding company. Even, thereafter, when IIT Kharagpur invited me to join its faculty, I taught Business management for over five years. This year I launched India’s first Big Data Analytics programme in management. Can any sane person link up this background of mine with the bizarre stories police is churning out through so called letters.
"Already, in having a raid on my house in the campus they have ruined my image before my students and jeopardized their careers as they in some way are linked with my own reputation. My family, my vast friend circle, my corporate contacts, everything is devastated with this false campaign the police launched for whatever intension.
"I heard from some journalists that the police spokesman in his press conference yesterday referred to my foreign visits that I collected money. I am a reputed scholar and go on invitations of universities abroad, and all these tours are well documented. Such kind of deliberate falsehood and fabrication by the state agent is dangerous for this country’s future to say the least."

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