The 54-year-old professor in the Department of English was produced before a special court and remanded to NIA custody till August 4.

Hany Babu professor in Department of English at Delhi University who was arrested by the NIA
news Crime Wednesday, July 29, 2020 - 18:38

The NIA on Tuesday arrested associate professor of Delhi University, Hany Babu Musaliyarveettil Tharayil, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case. The 54-year-old, who lives in Delhi’s Gautam Buddh Nagar, is an associate professor in the Department of English at Delhi University. He was on Wednesday produced before a special court and remanded to NIA custody till August 4.

The professor’s arrest is in connection with the Elgar Parishad event of December 31, 2017. The event was organised by the Kabir Kala Manch at Shaniwarwada in Pune, where alleged provocative speeches were made, promoting enmity between various caste groups and leading to violence that resulted in loss of life and property, and statewide agitation in Maharashtra.

During the investigation, it was revealed that Hany Babu was “propagating Naxal activities and Maoist ideology” and was a "co-conspirator" with the other arrested accused, the NIA official said.

Hany Babu’s wife, Jenny Rowena, who is also a professor at Miranda House college, has denied the charges against him. According to a professor, Rowena was attending a college meeting online when she got the news of the arrest and immediately left it.

Rowena told Malayalam channel Mathrubhumi over the phone that the NIA is trying to “brand him as an urban Naxal” and that it is “planting fake evidence to show that there were letters inside his computer which were written by some Maoists.”

The professor’s arrest has been criticised widely by fellow Delhi University professors and activists as well.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) also condemned the arrest of Babu.

"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 JNUSU said.

The JNUSU appealed to students, academics and all progressive sections of the citizenry to stand together in solidarity at this "dark hour of witch hunts."

"We demand immediate release of Dr. Babu and other activists and an end to politically motivated investigations," they said.

Writer Arundhati Roy has slammed the government for the relentless and ongoing incarceration of activists, academics and lawyers.

"The relentless and ongoing incarceration of activists, academics and lawyers, in this case, is a manifestation of this Government's understanding that this nascent, emerging secular, anti-caste and anti-capitalist politics that these people represent, provides an alternative narrative to Hindu fascism and poses the clearest threat -- culturally, economically as well as politically -- to its own disastrous Hindu Nationalist politics that has led this country into a crisis that has blighted the lives of hundreds of millions of people which ironically includes its own supporters," Roy said in a statement.

The Left-backed AISA said, "Fabricated charges and lies have been the modus operandi of NIA and investigative agencies. The arrest of Prof. Hany Babu proves the Modi government wants to silence and harass pro-democracy forces."

From anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) activists to pro-democracy activists, intellectuals and academics, the BJP government is sparing none in its attempt to weaken democracy, the AISA said and demanded Hany Babu's immediate release.

The Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), an umbrella body of student outfits and civil society organisations, called his arrest "blatant harassment and intimidation of persons who question the State and struggle for the rights of the marginalised and oppressed castes, classes and communities."

Hany Babu has been an anti-caste activist who has been consistently fighting for social justice within and outside the university space, it said. CASR demanded the immediate release of all activists and intellectuals arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case.

In September last year, officers of the Pune police, which was earlier probing the case, conducted searches at the residence of Hany Babu in Noida and seized his laptop and mobile phone.

During the investigation in the Elgar Parishad case, it was revealed that senior leaders of the CPI (Maoist), a banned organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, were in contact with the organisers of Elgar Parishad as well as the accused arrested in the case to spread the ideology of Maoism or Naxalism and encourage unlawful activities, the official of the premier investigation agency said.

The Pune police filed a charge sheet and a supplementary charge sheet in the case on November 15, 2018 and February 21, 2019 respectively. The NIA took up the investigation of the case on January 24 this year and arrested Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha on April 14, the official said.

With PTI inputs

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