‘DU Prof.’s arrest a bid to criminalise dissent’

July 29, 2020 11:55 pm | Updated 11:55 pm IST - New Delhi

Teachers and students’ groups on Wednesday condemned the arrest of Delhi University Professor Hany Babu in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case.

The Federation of Central Universities Teachers’ Association (FEDUCTA), Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union as well as several other groups under the banner of Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) such as ASIA, SFI, Bhim Army, United Against Hate and others hit out against the latest arrest in Mumbai.

“It is evident that this is yet another attempt to muzzle academic freedom, freedom of speech and dissent and incarcerate critics and intellectuals by the ruling government,” said FEDCUTA in a statement, where it described Mr. Babu as a “brilliant academic and organic intellectual committed to the Ambedkarite cause of anti-caste struggle and social justice”.

The union took exception to the arrest by the NIA despite Mr. Babu’s cooperation with the investigation agencies, the FEDCUTA said. “We hope that the judiciary upholds the rights of Professor Babu against the speculative charges brought up against him, and set him free immediately,” it wrote.

Comparing his arrest to that of other academics in the same case, such as Anand Teltumbde, Shoma Sen, Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bhardwaj, Surendra Gadling, the group said that his arrest is part of an attempt to criminalise dissent, “as was seen in the arrests of students who participated in the anti-CAA protests and portends ominous times ahead for the academic community.

Botched investigation

The JNUSU demanded the release of Mr. Babu and called for an end to “politically motivated investigations” while hitting out at the investigation carried out by the NIA. “The botched investigation into the Bhima Koregaon case has been single mindedly directed at implicating activists and intellectuals who question the policies of the regime in power and its connivance with communalism and anti-people policies,” the union said.

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