The Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, a progressive Dalit organisation at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, on Sunday claimed that the central government has been targetting several of its members in an attempt to include the group in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Intelligence agencies have been targetting Ramesh, one of the founding members of the group, the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle said in a letter. He currently works as a teaching staff on contractual basis at the Anna University.
“These activities are all a part of the plan by the central government, to bring the name of APSC, IIT Madras, into the false UAPA [Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act] case it has filed against Prof Anand Teltumbde regarding the Bhima Koregaon incident,” the group said. “We all know how after Modi government came to power, IIT Madras administration de-recognised APSC and how they had to withdraw after a huge outcry of opposition across the country. In the case against Teltumbde, the Maharashtra government has accused Teltumbde of having funded and helped in founding APSC in IIT Madras.”
The letter added: “This is an outright lie. We suspect that the Modi government is building a narrative to further attack the study circles named after Ambedkar and Periyar across the country.”
Academic Anand Teltumbde is being investigated in connection with the violence that broke out on January 1, 2018, in Bhima Koregaon near Pune. The case is based on letters allegedly obtained from computers and hard drives of human rights lawyers and activists during searches. So far, ten people have been arrested on allegations that they were involved in a Maoist conspiracy to overthrow the Indian state and also in a plot to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Similarly, a woman student activist belonging to the study circle in Madras University was recently “threatened in the name of investigation”, the group added in its letter. Officers allegedly visited her native village and threatened her.
“This is a clear attempt to remove the progressive forces from campuses across the country and to convert these campuses into RSS training centres,” the letter added. “The Modi government, which deceives Dalits in the name of glorifying Ambedkar on one hand, attacks those who want to realise the dream Ambedkar had.”
Urging people to condemn these “illegal actions”, the group said it was no longer the time to remain silent. “The fascists are at our doorsteps,” the letter added. “We ask everyone who believe in democracy to raise their dissenting voices in the loudest possible manner.”