Telugu journalist Tekula Kranti, a member of Revolutionary Writers Association has been issued a notice by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Elgar Parishad- Maoist link case. The NIA has asked the journalist to appear for questioning at the Mumbai office on July 24.
Kranti was one of the two journalists and eight activists across the country whose residence was raided on August 28, 2018, by the Maharashtra police in connection to the Bhima Koregaon violence in January that year. The Elgar Parishad was an event held at Pune in December 2017. An FIR filed with the Pune police alleges that speeches made at the event organised by several non-profits attended by over 35,000 persons led to the Bhima Koregaon violence that saw over 200 deaths.The Elgaar Parishad event was organised on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani and former JNU student Umar Khalid were a few of the noted participants.
Several activists were put under house arrest and later moved to jails over the speeches and the violence. It was also alleged by the police that a plot to assassinate the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also being hatched by these activists. Two years later eight activists are languishing in jails awaiting trial.
In 2018, Kranti was working as a sub-editor with Namasthe Telangana. The Maharashtra police while raiding his residence took away his phone, laptop and passwords to his email accounts. "My name is not mentioned in the FIR but the notice was issued saying, ānotice to witnessā. They havenāt told me what they want to question me on," says the reporter to TNM.
The reporter claims he is unsure as to why his name was dragged into the case, āI have no idea why my residence was raided by the Maharashtra police. My only connection to the whole case is that I know (poet and activist) Varavara Rao, I donāt know the rest of the activists and lawyers arrested as part of the case. Since the NIA took over the case in January they have had to reinvestigate the whole case and perhaps thatās why I am still being called,ā says the reporter who does not expect the case to reach any logical conclusion anytime soon, āThis issue will keep going on,ā he adds.
However, since the raid at his residence, Kranti was laid off from Namasthe Telangana, āI was let go,ā was all he had to say on the matter.
āI then took a job with a broadcast channel that shut down a year later, I have been jobless since,ā says Kranti, āI will have to borrow some money for this trip during a pandemic and Mumbaiās monsoon. This will be my first time to Mumbai and I donāt even know where to go stay,ā he adds.