The National Investigation Agency on Tuesday arrested noted scholar and grandson-in-law of BR Ambedkar, Anand Teltumbde, soon after his surrender in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case. His arrest has sparked anger on social media with journalists and activists questioning the Centre’s Narendra Modi government’s priority during a global pandemic, which has claimed more than 1 lakh lives across the world. Teltumbde’s arrest came on the day India observed the 129th birth anniversary of Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian constitution.
Teltumbde surrendered at the NIA office at Cumbala Hill in south Mumbai following the Supreme Court”s directives. He had arrived at the NIA office with wife Rama Teltumbde and brother-in- law and Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar.
Teltumbde was forced to surrender after the Supreme Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea on 17th April and directed him to surrender before the NIA.
Social media erupted in anger particularly after learning that the scholar was suffering from asthma.
This 14th day of April : Ambedkar Jayanti day
In PM’s address to the nation
Pays homage to Babasaheb Ambedkar
NIA to Arrest Anand Teltumbde
( crush dissent when Dalits raise their voice )
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) April 14, 2020
Extremely sad! A black flag outside the house of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in protest against the arrest of Anand Teltumbde. No bigger irony than the fact that today is #AmbedkarJayanti #DoNotArrestAnand #DoNotArrestGautam https://t.co/5yr02lvT2j
— Umar Khalid (@UmarKhalidJNU) April 14, 2020
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) April 14, 2020
Anand Teltumbde is not keeping well. He is asthmatic. His lawyer submitted all medical documents to SC, but in vain. If something happens to him in jail, Modi government will be responsible.#AnandTeltumbde
— nikhil wagle (@waglenikhil) April 13, 2020
Teltumbde has been booked under the stringent provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) along with ten other civil liberties rights activists. They are accused of having links with Maoists and conspiring the overthrow the government.
Teltumbde had earlier written an incredibly moving open letter saying that India was being ruined by the current government. He had concluded his letter with an appeal, “As I see my India being ruined, it is with a feeble hope that I write to you at such a grim moment. Well, I am off to NIA custody and do not know when I shall be able to talk to you again. However, I earnestly hope that you will speak out before your turn comes.”