The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and Prof Anand Teltumbde’s lawyer are set to file a pre-arrest bail application in Bombay High Court after the academic-activist was released following a Pune special court’s direction on Saturday afternoon, hours after his arrest by Pune Police.
Teltumbde has been named an accused in a case relating to the Elgaar Parishad, an event organised in Pune a day before the 200th anniversary of battle of Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018. Violence had broken out during the event last year.
“The Supreme Court order gave him (Teltumbde) interim protection from arrest for four weeks. The police have violated his rights by arresting him before the term got over, as the court announced today,”advocate Lara Jesani said.
Jesani said they have now time until February 11 to file a pre-arrest bail application.
On January 14, the apex court had rejected Teltumbde’s appeal to quash the FIR against him by Pune Police in the Bhima Koregaon case. The court granted him four weeks to get a pre-arrest bail from the trial court.
On Friday, the trial court rejected his bail application. He was about to approach the Bombay High Court for a stay when he was arrested.
The SC order, accessed by the Indian Express, states: “We extend the said interim protection for a period of four weeks from today within which the petitioner may seek regular/pre-arrest bail from the competent authority.”
N Vasudevan, president of the Mumbai Electric Employees Union, whose five members have also been arrested on charges of allegedly collecting funds for Maoists, said, “There is no case against Teltumbde. The police have concocted and framed false charges. The arrest seemed to be done in a hurry.”
The union has also supported the arrested activists over the last one year, claiming that they were being targeted for voicing their opinion against the government.
In August 2018, the police had raised the Goa residence of Teltumbde, and those of six other activists in different cities.
Over the last two years, Teltumbde has been teaching big data analytics at the Goa Institute of Management. He had also completed a fellowship in Cybernetic Society of America, and worked as an executive director in Bharat Petroleum.
He is part of the Democratic Rights Movement and has been general secretary of the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights.
Mumbai-based activists Arun Ferreira and writer Vernon Gonsalves, who remain in Yerwada Jail on similar charges, await their hearing for bail on February 7 in Bombay HC.
On August 29 last year, Teltumbde had told The Indian Express, “It is important to explain my education. I am a mechanical engineer, graduate of IIM Ahmedabad, a PhD in Cybernetics, have several honorary doctorates. In the past, IIT Kharagpur invited me to teach business management.. This is the face of an urban Naxal? I have been an activist since student days…. It is not a question of a few fellows getting arrested or incarcerated. This means this could happen to anyone.”
Teltumbde said he has earned reputation his entire life, which was now getting destroyed: “Imagine what my students, who will enter the corporate world in future, think.”