Gautam Navlakha pens emotional letter hours after denied bail in Bhima Koregaon case

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the anticipatory bail petitions of civil rights activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde in the Bhima Koregaon case, registered under the draconian UAPA and ordered them to surrender within three weeks, PTI reported.

The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah also ordered the activists to turn in their passports.

Earlier this month, SC had extended the interim protection from arrest granted to Navlakha and Teltumbde and said that it will hear the appeals filed by them against a Bombay High Court order that rejected their anticipatory bail pleas.

Hours after he was denied anticipatory bail in the case, Navlakha wrote an open letter.

Read the letter:

I thank justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah of the Supreme Court for giving me three weeks to surrender before the NIA. I am grateful to senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal for defending us. I cannot thank enough my dearest friends lawyers for investing their precious time to represent me.

Now that I have to surrender within three weeks I ask myself- dare I hope to be freed from the burden of being accused in what appears to me, to be yet another conspiracy trial, one more in the long list of such trials? Will the co-accused and others like them get their freedom back? These questions creep in because of the times we live in where civil liberties are getting progressively squeezed, and where only one narrative dominates, backed by crassness in public life.

The dreadful act – the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act – allows for banning of an organisation and outlaws its ideology. As a result, the most innocuous and legitimate of engagement and interaction can become criminal in the eyes of the state. It is a law that makes the very process an instrument of punishment, without even waiting for the trial and its outcome.

So I am aware that I am joining the ranks of thousands of others who are made to suffer for their convictions.

To draw an analogy from test cricket, which to me is the best form of cricket, where endurance, patience, fair play, grit, and redemption grace the game. It is these same virtues that I demand from myself in this ‘test match’ of my life. There is nothing more pressing than for me to clear my name.

To my friends, colleagues, and family – I cannot thank you enough for standing by me through this period. I remain in your debt.

Do please listen to Leonard Cohen sing the ‘Anthem’ and remember to:

Ring the Bell,

Which still can ring

Forget your perfect

Offering

There is a crack

A crack in everything

That’s how light gets in.

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