Scholars urge government to release Hany Babu

DU professor was arrested by NIA last week in Bhima-Koregaon case

August 01, 2020 11:11 pm | Updated August 02, 2020 08:19 am IST - Mumbai

In legal trouble:  Professor Hany Babu (centre) being produced before the special NIA court in Mumbai on Wednesday.

In legal trouble: Professor Hany Babu (centre) being produced before the special NIA court in Mumbai on Wednesday.

National and international anti-caste scholars and activists have urged the government to release Delhi University’s Prof. Hany Babu in the interest of preserving democratic values and human rights.

In a statement released on Saturday, they have said, “This is the latest example of the current Indian Government’s attempt to annihilate dissent and freedom of life for its vocal public.”

It further said, “The arrest of Prof. Babu is the continuation of an almost year-long harassment which began with a raid of his house on 10 September 2019. The Pune Police, who claimed the raid was in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon case, confiscated his laptop and mobile phones as well as barred him from using his social media handles. Prof. Babu has clearly stated that he has no connection in any way whatsoever with the incidents at Bhima-Koregaon.”

The statement, signed by over a thousand scholars, said, “He is the 12thperson to be arrested in relation to the case. The framing of Prof. Babu, a tireless anti-caste intellectual and activist, is an attempt to penalise Dalit bahujans for raising their voice against casteist practices. It is a tragic irony that the Indian Government is using a celebratory event of Dalits to frame anti-caste scholars and activists. Prof. Babu, who has consistently worked to ensure equal opportunity for Dalit bahujan students, views social justice as one of the main aims of scholarship. He also raised his voice to defend the rights of Prof. Sai Baba, a Delhi University Professor with 90% physical disability who was arrested on charges of having Maoist links in 2014. Prof. Babu’s commitment to social justice is penalised by his arrest.”

On July 24 Mr. Babu, an associate professor at the Department of English in the University of Delhi, was summoned to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) office in Mumbai as a witness and arrested after five days of questioning. On July 28, the NIA arrested him in connection with the Elgaar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case. He had requested to provide testimony via video conferencing considering the travel risk related to COVID-19, but his request was denied.

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