A special court in Mumbai extended the National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody of civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde till April 25 in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case.
Teltumbde, the grandson-in-law of Dalit icon Dr B R Ambedkar, was arrested on April 15, along with activist Gautam Navlakha after they surrendered before the NIA following a Supreme Court order last week.
The NIA has alleged that the Elgaar Parishad event in Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, led to the violence in Bhima Koregaon the day after. Several activists, including Navlakha and Teltumbde, were booked by Pune Police for their alleged Maoist links and other charges following the violence at Bhima Koregaon village near Pune on January 1, 2018. The accused deny the allegations.
The NIA had earlier sought 10 days’ custody claiming it wanted to investigate his alleged involvement in the case.
On Monday, Teltumbde had written an open letter, stating that he has an “unblemished record of service for nearly five decades to this country” in various roles including in the corporate world, as a teacher, civil rights activist and a public intellectual. He claimed in the letter that he was illegally arrested by Pune Police while still under the protection of the Supreme Court and that his house in the faculty housing complex of the Goa Institute of Management raided in August 2018 while he and his wife were in Mumbai.
Teltumbde wrote that “draconian legislations” like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, under which he has been booked, “denude innocent people of their liberties”. “The jingoist nation and nationalism have got weaponised by the political class to destroy dissent and polarise people… I earnestly hope that you will speak out before your turn comes,” he wrote.
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