Dalit leaders condemn Anand Teltumbde's arrest on 14 April—Ambedkar Jayanti

Dalit leaders condemn the SC's order to arrest Anand Teltumbde on Ambedkar Jayanti, in the Bhima Koregaon case. Teltumbde is married to Ambedkar’s granddaughter. SIDDESH GAUTAM / COURTESY PRACHI TELTUMBDE
12 April, 2020

On 16 March 2020, a Supreme Court bench comprising the judges Arun Mishra and Mukeshkumar Rasikbhai Shah rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of the civil-rights activist Gautam Navlakha and the writer Teltumbde, in relation to the violence at Bhima Koregaon in January 2018. Navlakha and Teltumbde were booked by the Pune Police under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for alleged Maoist links in 2018. The Supreme Court asked Navlakha and Teltumbde to surrender on 6 April. On 8 April, the Supreme Court granted the activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde one week to surrender in the Bhima Koregaon case, registered under the draconian UAPA. 

Dalit leaders condemned the SC's order to arrest Anand Teltumbde on Ambedkar Jayanti, in the Bhima Koregaon case. Teltumbde is married to Ambedkar’s granddaughter. The full, unedited text of the statement is below.

Jai Bhim! 

Coinciding with the upcoming Ambedkar Jayanti, Dr. Anand Teltumbde , one of India’s foremost public intellectuals and the strongest legatee of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s tradition of struggling for a truly democratic India, will be complying with the Supreme Court’s order to surrender to the jail authorities. He will be surrendering on the 14th April 2020, between 12 noon - 2 pm at the Sessions Court in Mumbai. This is both tragic and shameful for all Dalits, Adivasis, OBC, and minorities on many counts for all of India. 

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;
- when even very repressive regimes around the world are releasing political prisoners in the face of the Corona virus, great minds like Dr. Teltumbde are incarcerated; 

- when we allow the Constitutional rights of such a person like Dr. Teltumbde to be sidelined;
- when the arrest of Dr. Teltumbde will be an obnoxious warning of the casteist Manuvadi regime to Dalit, Adivasi, OBC and minority intellectuals not to raise their voices of protest. 

This arrest reveals India’s deeply entrenched casteism for a ‘crime’ Dr.Teltumbde has not committed and for which no proof has been produced. 

We, the undersigned, call upon the Dalit, Adivasi, OBC, and minority leadership to stand up and seek justice in the finest of traditions that Babasaheb has bequeathed to us. As Dr. Teltumbde writes in his latest book The Republic of Caste, “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. 

Let’s unite in the name of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. 

Jai Bhim! 


Dr. THOL THIRUMAVALAVAN, MP Founder-President, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi 

D. RAJA, MP (Rajya Sabha)
General Secretary, Communist Party of India 

JIGNESH MEVANI, Independent MLA Vadgam (Gujarat) 

Dr. UDIT RAJ, Ex-MP Indian National Congress 

PRAKASH AMBEDKAR, Ex-MP Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi 

General Secretary, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi 

National President, Bhim Army Bharat Ekta Mission 

NAUSAD SOLANKI, MLA, Gujarat Indian National Congress 

Convenor, Bahujan Resistance Forum, Telangana 

Dr. RAJKUMAR CHABBEWAL, MLA (Hoshiyarpur, Punjab) Indian National Congress