A Professor’s Supreme Court Bail Hearing Is A Bellwether Case For Govt’s Use of India’s Anti-Terror Law

NB: Jail without trial for 4 years and counting. Stan Swamy died in custody, without interrogation or a trial. This is Indian justice today under the BJP-RSS government, a political group that weeps crocodile tears about the victims of the 1974 Emergency. They also criticize the retention of colonial era education and justice. Preventive detention was a cornerstone of colonial justice, but apparently it is a feature of colonialism they approve of. DS


Nashik (Maharashtra): “Taking up cudgels for the poor, speaking against the violation of democratic rights, or questioning the constitutionality of government actions do not go down well with the Indian state. To choke such dissent, the state has exerted all its might to discredit and eliminate individuals it deems a threat to its apparatus. Whatever its form, the essence of a working democracy is the protection it extends to citizens against the state’s overreach.”

This passage is from Republic of Caste, a 2018 book written by civil rights activist and management professor Anand Teltumbde.

On 14 April 2020, Teltumbde, among India’s most prolific anti-caste writers and author of 26 books in English and Marathi, was arrested by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) on terror charges in its ongoing high-profile  Bhima Koregaon case

On 18 November, the Bombay High Court granted the 73-year-old Teltumbde bail, holding there was no prima facie case made out against him by the NIA. On the day this story was published, Teltumbde, a former Bharat Petroleum executive director and Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) and Goa Institute of Management professor, had already spent 953 days in prison. 

The NIA’s charges against Teltumbde primarily rest on five documents and three witness statements, all of which the Bombay High Court looked at in detail, to eventually conclude that the material did not appear to have evidentiary value.

This in a case where trial has not even begun against Teltumbde and 15 other accused, some of whom have now spent more than four-and-a-half years in prison, with the oldest accused, the Jesuit sociologist, Stan Swamy, dying in state custody on 5 July 2021 at the age of 84.

Teltumbde’s prolonged incarceration and the Bombay High Court’s relief notwithstanding, a question mark remains over his release, since the high court stayed its ruling for a week on the NIA’s request, so the agency could appeal the decision in the Supreme Court….