New Delhi: Activists Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha surrendered before the National Investigation Agency Tuesday for their alleged role in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence.
The activists have been booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and the Supreme Court had refused to grant them further protection from arrest.
Before surrendering, Teltumbde and Navlakha penned open letters explaining their state of mind and their hopes from the future.
Speak out: Teltumbde
Teltumbde, a noted scholar, management guru and civil rights activist, penned his open letter Monday, writing that while he was aware that his voice might get drowned in “motivated cacophony of the BJP-RSS combine and the subservient media”, it was worth talking to people as it could possibly be his last chance.
Teltumbde said the police raid on his home in 2018 had turned his life “topsy-turvy”, adding: “Never in my worst dream could I imagine the things that began happening to me.”
He spoke about the time when he realised his phone was being tapped, but didn’t change his SIM as there was no “element of illegality” in his conduct.
Teltumbde went on to explain why he was being charged under the UAPA, and said it could happen to anyone. Explaining the extent of damage to his life, he said: “Your job gone, family losing house, media defaming you, about which you cannot do a damn thing.”
“I have been a simple person who has been earning his bread honestly and helping people to the extent possible with my knowledge through writings. I have an unblemished record of service for nearly five decades to this country in various roles in the corporate world, as a teacher, as a civil rights activist and a public intellectual,” he wrote, adding that he was being charged with a heinous crime “at the fag end” of his life.
Teltumbde ended the letter by saying “as I see my India being ruined, it is with a feeble hope that I write to you at such a grim moment”, and urged people to speak out until it was their turn to be incarcerated.
UAPA turns jurisprudence upside down: Navlakha
Navlakha, a noted journalist and rights activist, penned his letter just before surrendering Tuesday, and said despite Modi calling Covid-19 a national emergency, he was being made to surrender to the NIA. He expressed disappointment at the “terse” order of the Supreme Court, which had no mention of the coronavirus.
“However, I am affected by the fear that my near and dear ones harbour about my captivity amidst Covid-19,” Navlakha wrote.
Navlakha said of the UAPA that such acts turn the normal jurisprudence upside down as an accused is guilty unless proven innocent and the process becomes the punishment.
“My hope rests on a speedy and fair trial for myself and all my fellow co-accused. This alone will enable me to clear my name, and walk free, having also used the time in jail to rid myself of acquired habits,” he said.
He ended the letter with words from Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.
“Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom
’Cause all I ever have
These songs of Freedom.”
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