Take note of harassment of intellectuals, activist urges judiciary

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New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) Anand Teltumbde, one of the nine alleged “urban naxals” raided by Maharashtra Police, on Wednesday urged the judiciary to take note of what he called “monumental harassment” by police of intellectuals critical of the government.

In a statement here, Teltumbde said that police raided his Goa home on Tuesday as if he was a “dreaded terrorist or a criminal”, adding that the incident was meant to instil fear among those critical of the NDA government.

“The police could have enquired with me on whatever they wanted to, either by sending a police official or calling me to the police station. But the intention is to create an atmosphere of terror and project that I had already committed some dreaded crime,” he said.

Teltumbde and his wife were not in town when the police raided their house inside Goa Institute of Management, where he works as a senior Professor. He said that the police forced its way into his house without even waiting for the institute’s Director to arrive after procuring duplicate keys from security guards.

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He said he feared that the police could have “planted some object in the house with an alibi of search”.

“My wife reached Goa and took the help of a lawyer-friend and filed a police complaint in this connection,” Teltumbde said.

“I, like many other targeted people, was not even (present) in the conference (at Bhima-Koregaon on January 1). With what stretch of imagination could I have been suspected of connection with these things?” he questioned.

He said that the entire episode is based on a letter the police produced, the authenticity of which is “far from established as many people have already expressed serious doubt about its veracity”.

“And on this basis, the police are summarily targeting all intellectuals in the country. They are misusing the draconian law like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act to terrorise people into silence by targeting select intellectuals and activists. I urge the judiciary to take note of the monumental harassment and torture of innocents like me… without any iota of wrongdoing on our part,” Teltumbde said.

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The activist said that though he had been critical of the policies of the governments, particularly of the present dispensation, but had voiced criticism “in not a superficial way but with scholastic discipline”.

“In the course of time, I got associated with many organisations, none of which advocates violence or do unlawful things. As for insinuation of my connection with Bhima-Koregaon or Elgar Parishad, I happened to write a critique of the Bhima-Koregaon (riot) episode published in ‘The Wire’ web portal, incurring the wrath of many Dalits all over the country,” he said.

In the raids conducted on Tuesday at the homes of nine activists in Mumbai, Delhi, Ranchi, Goa and Hyderabad, the Maharashtra Police arrested activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao and Arun Ferreira on charges of aiding the Naxals and hatching a conspiracy to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that the five arrested activists be kept under house arrest till September 6, and issued notice to the Maharashtra government.

–IANS

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