NEW DELHI: Senior professor and chair, big data analytics at the Goa Institute of Management Anand Teltumbde, whose house was raided along with those of several other Left-wing activists over suspected Maoist links, on Wednesday said the government was “misusing” the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act to terrorise people into “silence” by targeting select intellectuals and activists.
On Tuesday, the Maharashtra police had raided the homes of prominent Left-wing activists in several states and arrested at least five of them as part of a probe into the violence between Dalits and upper-caste Peshwas at Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune after an ‘Elgar Parishad’ conclave on December 31 last year.
Urging the judiciary to take note of the “monumental harassment and torture” of innocent people like him were undergoing, Teltumbde in a statement, described the circumstances in which the raid was conducted at his residence in Goa.
The civil rights activist said he came to know of the raids after his house on the campus had already been searched.
“They enquired about me and picked up one security person from the main gate for showing the house. At the second gate, they repeated the same, taking away all cell phones and disconnecting the phone line, and came over to our house. They threatened the security guard to get the keys. He brought the duplicate keys and the process of opening the house took place.
“The entire process is conducted as though I was a dreaded terrorist or criminal,” he said in the statement.
The activist said in his role as a public intellectual, he has been critical of the policies of the government which he said were “voiced in not a superficial way but with scholastic discipline”.
“I, like many other people who have been targeted by people, was not even in the conference. With what stretch of imagination could I have even been suspected to have connection with these things? The entire episode is based on a letter police produced, the authenticity of which is far from established.
“Many people have already expressed serious doubt about its veracity. And on this basis, the police are targeting summarily all intellectuals in the country. They are misusing the draconian law like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act to terrorise people into silence by targeting select intellectuals and activists,” Teltumbde said.
The crackdown on Left-wing activists has sparked a chorus of outraged protests from human rights defenders.