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Members of Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI) held a demonstration on Sunday, January 27 at Holland Park in Surrey to show solidarity with Anand Teltumbde, who is facing arrest by the Indian police.

Teltumbde is a published author and columnist who has been advocating for the rights of poor and marginalized people. He is known for being a vocal critic of state repression of minorities in the world’s so called largest democracy.

Married to the granddaughter of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar – a towering scholar and the architect of the Indian constitution – Teltumbde was slapped with politically motivated charges for questioning the power. After his plea for quashing the criminal charges was recently rejected by the court, he faces possible arrest and incarceration under draconian laws that are frequently used to suppress voices of dissent.

The development coincides with the filing of sedition charges against student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others, for organizing a peaceful demonstration inside Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University against the repressive policies of the government in 2016.

Teltumbde was charged last year, while five other activists like him were arrested and detained across India under the controversial Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). They were all accused of being sympathizers of the Maoist insurgents.
Teltumbde escaped the police dragnet as he was away, while his house was raided by the police in his absence. If arrested, Teltumbde might be incarcerated like Delhi University Professor, G.N. Saibaba, who continues to be imprisoned under UAPA despite being ninety percent disabled below the waist.

Police have not only branded those arrested as Maoist supporters, but some are accused of being involved in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These allegations have been strongly refuted by their relatives and supporters, who believe that all this is being done to stifle voices of dissent and win sympathy for Modi, who might face a tough general election this year.

The participants at the Sunday rally raised slogans against the Indian state and demanded the release of all political prisoners and scrapping of repressive laws.

Those who spoke on the occasion included, Ambedkar International Social Reform Organization media coordinator Ratan Paul, Dave Diewert from Alliance Against Displacement, anti racism activist Avtar Singh Dhillon and IAPI cofounders Rakesh Kumar and Gurpreet Singh. Sarabjit Singh Baaz recited a revolutionary poem on the occasion.

None of the elected officials invited to the rally showed up. The organizers believe that Canada is siding with the repressive regime of India by remaining neutral.