Feb 06, Over 600 international scholars, from every major University in North America and Europe – right from Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, Chicago, Penn, Cornell, MIT to Oxford, UCL, Edinburgh and the London School of Economics, have signed a statement in support of Dr. Anand Teltumbde and have urged the governments of India and Maharashtra to bring the witch-hunt to an immediate halt.
Some of the best-known luminaries of American and European academy have signed the statement expressing deep outrage at the blatant misuse of the law to persecute one of their much-admired colleagues Dr. Teltumbde.
Among the stalwarts who have signed the petition, include Prof. Elizabeth Woods of Yale, Prof. Doris Sommer of Harvard, Profs. Robin Kelley and Eric Sheppard of UCLA, Prof. Mriganka Sur of MIT and Prof. Cindi Katz of the City University of New York to name just a few.
The support for Dr. Teltumbde among scholars from North America, Europe and Australia is indicative of his stellar reputation among his peers. Support for Dr. Teltumbde has come not just from social science and humanities scholars but also from some of the luminaries in Management Studies such as Prof. Kathleen Riach of Monash University Australia, Prof. Michael Zyphur, Univ. of Melbourne, Prof. Richard Marens of California State University Sacramento and Prof. Michael Elmes of Worcester Polytechnic, USA.
“The 600 odd signatures came in like an avalanche over 72 hours,” said Prof. Raja Swamy, spokesperson for India Civil Watch (ICW), a North America based human rights advocacy organization that initiated the petition.
Most noteworthy is the large numbers of South Asian scholars who have joined their voice to underscore their conviction that Dr. Teltumbde is not simply innocent but is being targeted for his unflinching dedication to truth and social justice as is the case of nine others who have already been arrested, and the two are either on bail or facing imminent arrest in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Among the reputed South Asia scholars who have signed the statement include Profs. Partha Chatterjee and Akeel Bilgrami of Columbia University, Prof. Thomas Bloom-Hansen of Stanford, Profs. Rajeshwari Sundar Rajan and David Ludden of New York University, and Profs. Barbara Harris-White and Karin Kapadia of Oxford University to name a few.
“The depth of support among South Asians for Dr. Teltumbde and the Bhima Koregaon 12 is indicative of the sense of alarm and concern over the government’s abuse of law and order to target the most dedicated civil rights activists and gifted intellectuals of Indian society. Any democratic and fair-minded government would honour these individuals for their social and intellectual contribution to society, not threaten them with imprisonment!” said Prof. Sangeeta Kamat of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, one of the signatories who reached out to hundreds of her fellow South Asian colleagues over the last two days.
Several scholars who know or have worked with Dr. Teltumbde have reached out to ICW expressing their commitment to internationalising the issue further. “Many new ideas are being suggested by some of Dr. Teltumbde’s colleagues and admirers,” said ICW spokesperson Prof. Swamy. “These include filing formal complaints against the Indian government in international for a to a Business school delegation to approach corporate leaders in the US and Europe to take up issues of human rights violations directly with the Government of India,” he added.
ICW will continue to work to internationalise the attack on Dr. Teltumbde and others that speak of the rapid deterioration of human rights protections in India under the current government.
Source: Sabrang India