The Pune Police arrested writer and academic Anand Teltumbde from the Mumbai airport at 3.30 am on Saturday in connection with the violence that broke out last year in Bhima Koregaon near Pune, ANI reported.

The arrest came a day after a court in Pune rejected the activist’s anticipatory bail application. Inspector Indulkar from Pune, who was at the airport to take Teltumbde into custody, told advocate Pradeep Mandhyan that he was being arrested as his bail was rejected.

The Supreme Court had on January 14 granted Teltumbde protection from arrest for four weeks and allowed him to approach the competent authority for regular or pre-arrest bail. The protection was set to expire on February 11. Teltumbde’s counsel had said they would file an appeal in the Bombay High Court but he was arrested before he could approach the High Court.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Shivaji Pawar confirmed the arrest and said that he will be produced in a special court later in the day, according to The Indian Express.

Additional Sessions Judge Kishor Vadane, while rejecting the bail petition on Friday, said investigators had collected enough evidence against the activist. “In my view, there is sufficient material collected by the investigating officer to show the involvement of the present accused in the alleged commission of the offence,” the judge added. Observing that the investigation was at a crucial stage, the court had said the “custodial interrogation of the accused is necessary”.

The case

Five activists – Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale – were arrested by the Pune Police in June and five more – Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao – were arrested in August. They were accused of being involved in an event that preceded the violence between Dalits and Marathas at Bhima Koregaon. The five activists arrested in August were subsequently placed under house arrest. Teltumbde and activist Stan Swamy’s homes and offices were searched.

The arrested activists are accused of masterminding the violence and of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

After the Supreme Court rejected Teltumbde’s appeal to quash the FIR on January 14, he wrote an open letter to the public, asking for support. A group of Ambedkarite organisations, alumni of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and the All India Forum For Right To Education have extended support to the activist and demanded the withdrawal of charges against him.

Also read:

  1. Full text: ‘I am devastated by prospect of imminent arrest’, writes author Anand Teltumbde
  2. ‘An illness is upon us’: Arundhati Roy on activist Anand Teltumbde’s impending arrest
  3. Full text: Ambedkarite organisations demand withdrawal of charges against Teltumbde
  4. Why IIM-A grad Anand Teltumbde’s colleagues are shocked but not surprised at his imminent arrest
  5. Supreme Court’s refusal to quash FIR against Anand Teltumbde damages the right to dissent