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Elgaar Parishad case: Activist Anand Teltumbde remanded in NIA custody till April 18

Elgaar Parishad case: Activist Anand Teltumbde remanded in NIA custody till April 18

A special court in Mumbai remanded activist Anand Teltumbde in the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) till April 18 in Elgaar Parishad case.

Teltumbde, the grandson-in-law of Dalit icon Dr B R Ambedkar, surrendered before the NIA earlier today, a week after the Supreme Court refused to grant him more time.

Meanwhile, activist Gautam Navlakha, a co-accused in the case, also surrendered before the NIA in Delhi. He will be produced before a Delhi court tomorrow.

A day before his surrender, Teltumbde had written an open letter to the people of India, stating that the "jingoist nation and nationalism have been weaponised by the political class to destroy dissent and polarise people".

Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi president Prakash Ambedkar, who accompanied Teltumbde, said this could have been avoided till the lockdown period ended on May 3. Ambedkar resorted to symbolic protest by raising a black flag at his residence Rajgruha in Dadar. However, he requested Bhim Rao Ambedkar followers and his party supporters to show restrain and remain at home in view of the lockdown.

Ambedkar also said, "The matter will be contested legally. Anand Teltumbde has hired lawyers. They will plead his case. At this moment there is no question of taking it politically."

But he expressed his shock at the "insensitivity of central government to crack against Civil Right Activists, especially, at a time when the entire nation is passing through a difficult phase of complete lockdown to contain COVID-19."

Wondering what threat would these activists, including his brother-in-law Anand Teltumbde, would pose to the government, Ambedkar said, "What was the hurry in insisting that Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha surrender now when the Supreme Court itself has said that due to the outbreak, prisoners should be released."

On April 8, the apex court gave the activists three weeks time to surrender, and ordered they submit their passports to authorities immediately.

Navlakha and Teltumdbe have been charged under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and are accused of being part of the Elgaar Parishad event held in Pune on December 31, 2017.

The duo had moved the top court after a single-judge bench of the Bombay High Court rejected their pleas for anticipatory bail. On February 14, HC judge Justice Prakash D Naik extended their interim protection from arrested by four weeks to appeal before the SC.

(Inputs and image from theindianexpress.com)

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