Civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde.

Pune Court Orders Anand Teltumbde’s Release, Terms Arrest Illegal

In an embarrassment to the Pune police, The Pune Sessions Court ordered Professor Anand Teltumbde’s release and called the arrest illegal after he was arrested on Saturday, 2 February, in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon violence case for his alleged links with the banned CPI-Maoist.

The court also instructed that as per the Supreme Court order of January 14, Teltumbde has interim protection till 11 February. However, he can approach the competent authority for bail or pre-arrest bail.

Welcoming the court’s ruling, Teltumbde said this was a good decision. However, the objectionable event should not have happened in the first place, he said.

On Friday, 1 February, Teltumbde's anticipatory bail plea was rejected by a special court in Pune. He was arrested by a team of Pune city at the Mumbai airport in the early hours.

In his order rejecting the anticipatory bail plea, special judge KD Vadane held that the investigating officer had enough material to link him to the alleged offence.

The order had stated, as quoted by Indian Express, "It appears that custodial interrogation of accused is necessary … Therefore, the accused is not entitled to be released on anticipatory bail. Hence, anticipatory bail application deserves to be rejected."

Teltumbde had informed the Pune court that he would approach the high court to appeal against its order.

‘Contempt of SC Order’

On 14 January, the Supreme Court had refused to quash Pune Police's FIR against civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde for his alleged role in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima violence and for his alleged Maoist links, reported PTI.

The apex court also refused to interfere with the ongoing investigation in the case.

However, a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Ashok Bhushan and SK Kaul extended the interim protection from arrest granted to him by Bombay High Court, for four more weeks.

As Teltumbde was approaching the Bombay High Court to appeal against the decision of the Pune court, this protection was possibly still active. Senior advocate Indira Jaising, as well as several activists and public figures condemned Teltumbde’s arrest by the Pune Police as contempt of the Supreme Court order.

On 21 December, Bombay High Court dismissed the petition filed by Teltumbde seeking the quashing of the FIR and granted interim protection from arrest for three weeks.

At the Elgar Parishad event at Shaniwarwada in Pune, held a day before the 1 January caste clashes at Koregaon-Bhima, located near Pune, several activists allegedly made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements that contributed to the violence, police said.

Activists, Lawyers Protested Anand Teltumbde’s Arrest in Bengaluru

(Photo: Arpita Raj/ The Quint)
Protest at Bengaluru’s Town Hall against Anand Teltumbde’s arrest.
(Photo: Arpita Raj/ The Quint)
Protest at Bengaluru’s Town Hall against Anand Teltumbde’s arrest.
(Photo: Arpita Raj/ The Quint)
Protest at Bengaluru’s Town Hall against Anand Teltumbde’s arrest.

Around 150 to 200 people pledged their support to Anand Teltumbde early on Saturday at the Town Hall in Bengaluru. A number of organisations, human rights groups, lawyers, students and activists were present at the protest.

Actor Prakash Raj, who recently announced his decision to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections also made an appearance.

Lawyer Clifton D'Rozario said, Teltumbde's arrest in Pune was further proof that the BJP government did not respect the Constitution.

“The fact that they didn’t study the Supreme Court order, and that they were so desperate to go and arrest the man shows this is about the Elgar Parishad. The government is petrified of the Dalit uprising. They are planning a Hindu nation where the Constitution will be replaced by the Manusmriti, where the Constitution has no value.”
Clifton D’Rozario, Lawyer 

Vimala, a member of the Janwadi Mahila Sanghatane and one of the organisers of the programme said that the central government was employing a “pick-and choose policy" as part of their state-led terrorist activities.

“This is all part of the Centre's agenda to silence dissenting voices. It is a pattern, where they pick and choose whom they want to harass to intimidate others,” she added.