Demand their immediate and unconditional release!
Resist state repression!
COSTISA, a co-ordination of progressive and democratic student’s association of various S&T institutes condemns the raids on Prof. Teltumbde and Prof. Satyanarayana and raids and arrests of other human rights activists. Anand Teltumbde and other activists have spent their lives being the voice of the voiceless Adivasis, Dalits, religious minorities and other oppressed people. Ex-Professor of IIT Kharagpur, Prof. Teltumbde is now working as a Senior Professor in Goa Institute of Management (GIM).
The severe onslaught that has been underway in India to plunder the natural resources, exploit the human resources and open up the market at the cost of the common people is reaching a pinnacle since the fascist BJP-RSS combine have been in power since 2014. Prof. Teltumbde has been a vocal critic of the neo-liberal agenda since long, including the aggressive phase that we are going through currently. The intention of the government through these raids and arrest is clear – to stifle all voices of dissent and terrorize all progressive forces who would speak up for the dispossessed.
One of the primary sectors bearing the brunt of the neo-liberal policies of successive governments is the education sector. Closing down primary schools, severe funding cuts in higher education institutes, encouraging private investments in education, funding private institutes by tax payers’ money, forcing institutes to generate their own funds through raising fees or corporate funded research, etc. are not to be seen in isolation: they are part of the monstrous neoliberal agenda of liberalization, privatization and globalization. These series of policy measures systematically snatch the right to education from vast populations who are already marginalized. Civil society activists and students, under the banner of All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE), have been constantly raising these issues of national interest for some time. Prof. Anand Teltumbde has been a guiding force behind this nationwide movement to save the education sector in India.
Prof. Anand Teltumbde’s Goa house has been raided and he was also threatened with arrest. The residence of Professor K. Satyanarayana from the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), was also raided. Besides, other activists have been arrested. They have all been known for their activism throughout their lives. They have spoken out against the corporate loot in the forest lands where a large number of adivasis live. They have time and again criticized the way in which governments and state administrations have sided with the corporate and dispossessed the original inhabitants of this land from their own land. They have stood with oppressed workers, dalits and religious minorities. They have spoken out very strongly for the people of this ‘democratic’ country who can’t even exercise their basic rights; instead they are subjected to severe repression, torture, murder and rape.
The Hindutva fascist forces in power are intensifying their all-out war on the Dalits, Adivasis and minorities in the rural areas on one hand, and trying to suppress all voices of dissent over these issues on the other hand.
Using the pretext of the Bhima-Koregaon incident and the alleged fabricated letter indicating a plot to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ruling establishment is leaving no stone unturned to reach that end. Media channels have already started branding the activists arrested as ‘Urban Naxals’, a term coined to easily deem illegitimate any pro-people work that might be done by these activists which is not in line with the corporate agenda of the ruling establishment. This tag has become an easy label to mobilize popular sentiment against such activists, making any trial in the court of law potentially biased even before its start. The media frenzy, created by some media agencies, also serve the purpose of diverting public attention from issues like the activities of Sanatan Sanstha, role of Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide in the Bhima Koregaon violence, etc.
These arrests are not only an attempt to silence the voices of dissent, but also a message to all progressive individuals in this country to either think the way the government wants or face the consequences.
The basic value of education lies in thinking in myriad ways and engaging in debates to arrive at the correct understanding. However the Government of India, currently under the control of the fascist BJP-RSS, wants the student community to think in only one direction, thereby destroying the very ethos of education. These forces want the education system to be in a way tailor-made to serve the corporate masters without questioning. However, that dream is not going to be fulfilled.
COSTISA appeals to the patriotic, progressive and democratic students, intellectuals, activists and individuals to unite and resist the state repression ushered upon the people of India. We condemn the unjust raids on Prof. Anand Teltumbde and Prof. K. Satyanarayana. We also demand the unconditional and immediate release of the other arrested human rights activists.
Coordination of Science and Technology Institutes’ Student Association (COSTISA)
[COSTISA is a coordination between progressive and democratic student organizations of IIT Madras, IIT Bombay, IIT BHU, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Kanpur, IIT Gandhinagar, IMS BHU and other Science & Technology institutes.]