Opinion: Supreme Court’s refusal to quash FIR against Anand Teltumbde damages the right to dissent

Slowly but surely the Indian state has shifted the burden of proof: we are all guilty until we prove we are innocent. Teltumbde stands for every one of us.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to quash the first information report against Professor Anand Teltumbde in the Bhima Koregaon case has caused widespread distress. Both the refusal and the distress need to be understood in context, if for no other reason than that the top court takes note of citizens’ expectation that it will play a proactive role in safeguarding fundamental rights at a time when the Constitution itself is in peril. Read more…

The Wire: Watch | Why the Sedition Law is Anti-Democratic

This week, the Delhi police filed a chargesheet against former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in the case of treason lodged in 2016.

The Delhi police also charged former students – Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya – for allegedly using ‘anti-India’ slogans during an event organised on the JNU campus on February 9, 2016, on the anniversary of the hanging of Afzal Guru. Former JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid has also been named, but not charged.

Others charged in the case are Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rassol, Bashir Bhat, Aparajita Raja and Basharat Ali. Read more…

‘Bizarre, Concocted Theories’: The Many Holes in the Case Against Anand Teltumbde

Facing imminent arrest, Teltumbde and his defenders say the case against him and nine other activists and lawyers stands on ‘flimsy’ grounds and is a ‘clear conspiracy to defame anti-caste political leaders’.

Mumbai: On January 14, the Supreme Court of India refused to quash the FIR filed against civil rights activist and an Indian Institute of Management-alumnus Anand Teltumbde for his alleged role as an “urban Naxal”. This decision of the apex court has made Teltumbde susceptible to arrest, clubbing him together with nine other human rights activists and lawyers who are presently in prison.

Teltumbde, along with other accused, is booked under two charges – for allegedly plotting to assassinate prime minister Narendra Modi, and for allegedly inciting mob violence on the Dalits who had visited Bhima Koregaon on January 1 last year.

If Teltumbde does not manage to secure anticipatory bail from the court over the next four weeks – the protection provided to him by the SC against the police action – going by what the Pune police indicated, his arrest is inevitable. Read more…

Holding an opinion against govt can be termed ‘seditious’: Aruna Roy

JAIPUR: Spaces of debate and disagreement are “shrinking” in ..

JAIPUR: Spaces of debate and disagreement are “shrinking” in the country, warned activist Aruna Roy, who said holding a mere opinion against the government is akin to “sedition” these days.

Aruna Roy was speaking at the session, “The Right To Know”, on the second day of the Jaipur Literature Festival at the Diggi Palace here on Friday.

“When you close the space for dialogue and when you say that certain kind of thought is itself seditious this is when you are on a very dangerous ground,” said Roy. Read more…