In August 2018, the Pune Police implicated Prof. Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha with other human right activists and lawyers in the now-infamous fabricated Elgar Parishad case. The police presented concocted theories since day one and these theories have not an iota of truth in them. Although the judiciary granted interim protection to Prof. Anand and Gautam, the supreme court on 16th March, 2020 rejected the pre-arrest bail and asked them to surrender by three weeks. The intention of the state was quite clear from the vehemence with which the Central government took away the case to National Investigation Agency (NIA) few weeks back. It is evident that the state wants to incarcerate them in jails for years just for struggling for the democratic and human rights of oppressed and marginalised sections of society. Their methods have always been within the provisions/freedom provided by the constitution of India. Neither of them has anything remotely to do with organising and subsequent events that occurred around Bhima Koregaon episode.
Coming from the poorest of poor families, Prof. Anand passed through the best institutes in the country with scholastic achievements. He is an alumnus of the hallowed IIM Ahmedabad, has worked his entire life in corporate sector at top management positions in state-owned BPCL and petro-infrastructure company Petronet India Ltd, promoted by the Government in private sector. After his corporate stint, he has been Professor of Business Management in IIT, Kharagpur and currently a senior professor and chair of Big Data Analytics in Goa Institute of Management. It defies any logic to link a person with such credentials to any banned organization. As a socially sensitive person he has contributed immensely to improving the lives of people and decided to devote time to make intellectual contribution for making the world a little more just. This instinct naturally landed him in organisations like Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), of which he is the general secretary, and the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE), of which he is a presidium member. None of the organizations he is associated with are banned organizations.
Gautam Navlakha has been a well-known democratic and human rights activist and a journalist. He is engaged in the activism by the People’s Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi. He was also an editorial consultant of the Economic and Political Weekly and has also been a convener of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Kashmir.
We believe Anand and Gautam have been the target of the state as they always took up the cudgels for the oppressed and also earned their names among the foremost civil rights activists/public intellectuals in the country.
We, the following signatories urge upon all the democratic organizations and individuals to stand against the totally oppressive move to curb the voices of dissent and demonstrate against the forthcoming arrest of Anand and Gautam on 6th April, 2020.