Activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde, who were arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case, have been declared the joint winners of the new 2020 Shakti Bhatt Book Prize. The two activists have been honoured for their body of work.
Teltumbde has written more than two dozen books, including Republic of Caste and Radical in Ambedkar and Dalits: Past, Present and Future. Navlakha is the author of Days and Nights in the Heartland of Rebellion, an account of Maoism India, from Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district.
Teltumbde’s wife Rama Teltumbde will receive the award on his behalf, the Shakti Bhatt Foundation said.
Navlakha and Teltumbde have been charged under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and various sections of the Indian Penal Code following the violence at Bhima Koregaon village in Pune city in 2018. The violence broke out a day after an anti-caste event called the Elgar Parishad was held in Pune. The case made by the Pune Police accused the two activists of having links with Maoists. Navlakha and Teltumbde have been under arrest since April 14. Activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves and poet Varavara Rao have also been arrested in the case.
The Shakti Bhatt award, which celebrates literature from South Asia, came into existence in 2008. The award includes a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh and a trophy.
In December, author Tony Joseph had won the prize for his book Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From.