After spending the morning evaluating question papers, Delhi University professor Dr. G.N. Saibaba was on his way to lunch when he was waylaid by policemen in plain-clothes and bundled into a waiting car. His driver was blindfolded and sent to a nearby police-station. His family has said they were informed of his arrest, for alleged Maoist links, several hours later by a policeman from the airport.
“I was waiting for him to come home since he had called me and was on his way, he didn’t come and when I got worried and called, his phone was switched off; this was around 1 p.m. I got a call at 3 p.m. saying my husband was being taken to Gadhchiroli by the Maharastra police. When I tried to get details, the call got cut,” said Vasantha, Dr. Saibaba’s wife, adding that she then filed a missing person’s report.
It was then that she was informed that the Maharashtra police had indeed visited the Maurice Nagar police station at 9 a.m. and that they had deployed two cops to help him.
“He had co-operated wholly with the police when they had interrogated him twice in the past, his medical condition is bad, and there is no way that he can be a flight risk that they have to remove him from Delhi in this clandestine manner,” said Delhi University Teachers' Association president Nandita Narain.
Author and social activist Arundhati Roy claimed that it was an “illegal abduction which amounted to a human rights violation” for the 90 per cent disabled and wheelchair-using professor. She said it was not a random act but a consistent effort by those in power to show that they could “do what they wanted, when they wanted and to whom they wanted,” and to people who spoke up for the rights of the downtrodden. And, that too, even in the time of election when the eyes of the public were on the people in power.
“The last time they raided Dr. Saibaba's house, they took away his things and the seizure memo was not shown to any of the professors who were waiting outside, instead they got the memo signed by someone uneducated that they found on the road. They did not take his things for nothing, they had the opportunity to doctor whatever they want to prove. They can now do this to any of us, take away our cell-phones and implicate us,” she said, calling the “Special Cell,” of the police a “genetically-modified cell.”
The police, however, denied all allegations. “He was taken to the Civil Lines station and his wife was informed that he is going to be sent to Maharashtra. All due procedure was followed,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (North District) Sindu Pillai.