WSS condemns the arrests of Prof. Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha and demands the immediate release of all political prisoners!
April 15th 2020
Today, with undeniable irony, we have witnessed the surrender/arrests of Prof. Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Both Prof. Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha are known to us through their activism, writing and relentless pursuit of democratic principles. They have also remained steadfastly opposed to Brahmanical Hindutva fascism in all its manifestations. While the country marks the 129th Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14th, members of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s family find themselves charged and incarcerated under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) under the ludicrously concocted Bhima Koregaon 2018 case. The Bhima Koregaon case has been a catch-all for incarcerating voices of dissent that have spoken out against the anti-people policies of the State, exposed instances of increasing state repression and stood in solidarity with the most oppressed people of this country. At a time of an extraordinary global health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, where hundreds of thousands of migrant informal workers are struggling to return to their native homes in the wake of the apathy of the State and industry , when medical professionals are compelled to risk their lives due to lack of personal protective equipment and healthcare facilities, and measures to tackle the disease seem to be aimed to target and vilify the minority communities, the authorities remain aloof to the true conditions of the large sections of people. In the same breath, activists and democrats like Teltumbde and Navlakha, who are around the age of 70, are denied reprieve by the highest courts of this country. While on the one hand the courts are ordering the decongestion of prisons due to overcrowding, activists and human rights defenders are being incarcerated in jails that are insufficiently placed to tackle the spread of the virus. This is a stark reflection of the country today. At this political crossroads, the spirit of democracy faces a direct challenge by the very institutions of the state responsible for upholding it. Continue reading