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Insult to Ambedkar's legacy: Political activists on order to arrest Teltumbde, Navlakha

Dr Teltumbde, Navlakha
Counterview Desk
Several well-known Dalit rights leaders and politicians have taken strong exception to the March 16 Supreme Court bench comprising judges Arun Mishra and Mukeshkumar Rasikbhai Shah rejecting the anticipatory bail pleas of the civil-rights activist Gautam Navlakha and writer Dr Anand Teltumbde, stating their arrest on April 14, which happens to be Ambedkar Jayanti, would be “a national shame”.
Implicated in the violence at Bhima Koregaon in January 2018, Navlakha and Teltumbde were booked by the Pune Police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for alleged Maoist links. The Supreme Court asked Navlakha and Dr Teltumbde to surrender on April 6. On April 8, the Supreme Court granted both of them a week to surrender in the Bhima Koregaon case, registered under the draconian UAPA.
Particularly condemning the Supreme Court order to arrest of Dr Teltumbde, who is married to Ambedkar’s granddaughter, the statement said, he is one of India’s “foremost public intellectuals and the strongest legatee of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s tradition of struggling for a truly democratic India”, declaring, he will “comply with the apex court order to surrender to the jail authorities.”
“He will be surrendering on the April 14, 2020, between 12 noon and 2 pm at the Sessions Court in Mumbai”, the statement said, adding, “This is both tragic and shameful for all Dalits, Adivasis, OBC, and minorities on many counts for all of India.”
The statement continues, “It marks a day on which this country will celebrate the 129th birth anniversary of one of its greatest minds and hearts, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, and on which the mighty nationalist machinery seeks to crush the spirit that kept the flame of democracy alive in our midst.”
The surrender would take place, says the statement, “when even very repressive regimes around the world are releasing political prisoners in the face of the corona virus”, adding, incarceration of great minds like Dr Teltumbde would take place allowing his Constitutional rights of such a person to be “sidelined.”
Dr Teltumbde will surrender on Babasaheb Ambedkar's birth anniversary, April 14, between 12 noon and 2 pm in Mumbai
Describing the arrest of Dr Teltumbde “an obnoxious warning of the casteist Manuvadi regime to Dalit, Adivasi, OBC and minority intellectuals not to raise their voices of protest”, the statement says, “This arrest reveals India’s deeply entrenched casteism for a ‘crime’ Dr Teltumbde has not committed and for which no proof has been produced.”
Asking Dalit, Adivasi, OBC, and minority leadership to “stand up and seek justice in the finest of traditions that Babasaheb”, the statement quotes Dr Teltumbde in his latest book ‘The Republic of Caste’, saying, “The wrath of the wretched scares the world."
“It becomes our duty to come together at this hour and demand that the Indian authorities allow Dr Teltumbde to live and write, to be a free spirit that enlivens our democratic selves, and remain the beacon that he is for educating, organizing, and agitating for a better India and a better world”, it adds.
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Signatories: Dr Thol Thirumavalavan, MP, founder-president, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi; D Raja, MP (Rajya Sabha), general secretary, Communist Party of India, Gujarat Dalit rights leader Jignesh Mevani, Independent MLA; Dr Udit Raj, ex-MP, Indian National Congress; Prakash Ambedkar, ex-MP, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi; D Ravikumar, MP, general secretary, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi; Vinay Ratan Singh, national president, Bhim Army Bharat Ekta Mission; Gujarat Dalit MLA Nausad Solanki (Congress); Prof Dr Sujatha Surepally, convenor, Bahujan Resistance Forum, Telangana; and Dr Rajkumar Chabbewal, Congress MLA (Hoshiyarpur, Punjab)

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