Professor Anand Teltumbde, an engineer and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) graduate who used to teach at the Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur), wrote an open letter ‘to the people of India’ a day before he surrenders to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) after the Supreme Court denied him any relief.
“I am aware this may be completely drowned in the motivated cacophony of the BJP-RSS combine and the subservient media but I still think it may be worth talking to you as I do not know whether I would get another opportunity,” Mr. Teltumbde noted in his three-page letter.
He said his ‘world turned completely topsy-turvy’ in August 2018 when a team of policemen raided his house in the faculty housing complex of Goa Institute of Management and accused of him having a connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence.
“Although, I was aware that police used to visit the organisers of my lectures, mostly universities, and scare them with enquiries about me, I thought they might be mistaking me for my brother who left family years back,” the letter said. But everything changed for him when the director of his institute called him, while he was in Mumbai on an official visit, and told him the police had raided the campus looking for him. According to him, the police knew his whereabouts and could arrest him, but for reasons known only to them, did not.
The police team which raided the institute forcibly got a duplicate key from the security guard, and took videos of his house, claimed Mr. Teltumbde. “Our ordeal began right there,” he said. On the advice of lawyers, he asked his wife to take the next flight to Goa and lodge a complaint with the Bicholim police station stating that their house had been opened in their absence and they would not be responsible if police officials had planted anything. His wife also volunteered to give their telephone number if the officials wanted to conduct inquiries.
Mr. Teltumbde said that in his voluminous writings, which include 30 books, some published internationally, there has not been any insinuation of support to violence or any subversive movement. “But at the fag end of my life, I am being charged for the heinous crime under the draconian UAPA.”
According to him, the details of the case are strewn across the internet and are enough for any person to know that it is a “clumsy and criminal fabrication.”
Mr. Teltumbde’s letter reads, “I am implicated on the basis of the five letters among 13 that the police purportedly recovered from the computers of two arrestees in the case. Nothing has been recovered from me. The letters refer to ‘Anand’, a common name in India, but the police unquestioningly identified it with me.”
The professor said the form and content of the letters has been trashed by experts and even a justice of the Supreme Court, the only one in the entire judiciary who went into the nature of the evidence. Additionally, the content does not refer to anything that could be remotely construed as even a simple crime, he claims.
“But taking shelter under the draconian provisions of the UAPA, that renders a person defenseless, I am being jailed,” Mr. Teltumbde said, adding, “And this can happen literally to ANYONE.”
“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,” the letter concluded.
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