The grandson of B.R. Ambedkar and IIT-Kharagpur professor Anand Teltumbe has demanded unconditional release of Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba, who is lodged in Nagpur jail after police booked him for alleged links with Maoists. Speaking at a round table conference organised by Democratic Teachers’ Network, Prof. Anand said the government harassed people who did not toe its line by keeping them in prison for long periods. He recalled in this connection, the detention of activist Binayak Sen and several others.
“Primarily, we demand Prof. Saibaba’s immediate and unconditional release, proper treatment and medication and withdrawal of the false cases foisted on him,” he declared. Revolutionary writer Varavara Rao said there was no logic in the arrest. He recalled several precedents, including the order of a five-judge High Court Bench that ruled encounters by police as culpable homicide. Also, there was a Home Ministry circular that spoke of ‘thought-makers’ outside prison being more dangerous than those inside. DTN convener S. Ratnam presided over the meeting.
Other speakers included Prof. Harjinder Singh and Anupama of Hyderabad Central University, Anwar Khan of All India Teachers’ Association and DTN members Indira Kaveri, Thadhagath, K. Ravichander of Revolutionary Writers’ Association, who deplored the government mode of suppressing voices against it. They regretted that from registering criminal cases against people for dissident action and grave crimes, the government was now acting against people even on the basis of their thoughts and expression.
At a roundtable, speakers condemn the government act of harassing the professor by foisting false cases on him.
Amnesty seeks release of rights activists held for Naxal links in Kerala
Amnesty International-India on Friday appealed to the Kerala government to release two human rights activists arrested for their “links” with Maoists. The police had arrested Jaison C Cooper and Thushar Nirmal Sarathy from two different locations on January 30 alleging they were involved in the recent suspected Maoist attacks in the state. The police had recovered Maoist literature from their possession. Sarthy, as an advocate, was giving legal aid to two youths earlier arrested for their “connection” with suspected Maoist attacks.
Cooper, a state government employee, was picked up from his office in connection with an attack on the project office of the National Highway Authority of India in Kochi. Sarathy was arrested from Kozhikode when he was coming out of a press conference held to deplore the “persecution” of human rights activists under the “guise” of crackdown on Maoists. They were charged with provisions under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Shameer Babu, programmes director, Amnesty International-India, said, “Indian courts have stated on multiple occasions that mere possession of certain literature cannot be considered a crime. The National Human Rights Commission has asked for a report from the Kerala police on the arrests. Authorities must ensure that the two men are protected from torture and other ill-treatment.”