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Teltumbde, Navlakha’s open letters before surrender




Activists Gautam Navlakha (left) and Anand Teltumbde | Image: ThePrint Team
Activists Gautam Navlakha (left) and Anand Teltumbde | Image: ThePrint Team

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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.

Also read: Nothing illegal about NIA taking over Bhima Koregaon case but state police still holds key

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.

Also read: Anand Teltumbde fought the anti-national called caste. His arrest marks a black day

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
Redemption songs
Redemption songs.
These songs of Freedom.

Also read: Historians’ silence on Bhima Koregaon allowed BJP to brand it as ‘urban Naxalism’


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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