Condemning summons to Delhi University professors Dr PK Vijayan and Rakesh Ranjan by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case, the civil rights network, Campaign against State Repression (CASR), has demanded an immediate cessation of this relentless harassment of academics, activists and human rights defenders in the name of investigation.
“The intention behind the continued targeting of academics during the Covid-19 pandemic and the repeated denial of bail to those who have contracted the virus under incarceration and those whose health is deteriorating is malafide, creates a chilling effect and renders dissent criminal”, CASR, platform with over 36 organisations*, said.
The Campaign against State Repression (CASR) condemns the summons by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to Dr PK Vijayan and Rakesh Ranjan, faculty members in Delhi University, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case. Following the recent arrest of Delhi University professor Hany Babu, this continued harassment of university faculty under the garb of investigation is intended to create a chilling effect on the university community including students, teachers and workers and democratic and progressive people at large.
This also seeks to silence voices of dissent emanating from institutions that have fostered and nurtured critical thinking and engagement with social, economic and political issues. Furthermore, the creation of a climate of fear among those associated with the arrested and targeted persons is aimed at breaking bonds of solidarity within the university community.
Dr PK Vijayan, a teacher of English at Hindu College, and Rakesh Ranjan, a teacher of Economics at Shri Ram College of Commerce, are both educators who have given decades of their lives to the university community. They have taken up questions of democratic rights, access to higher education and discrimination of the basis of caste, class and community. Both have struggled for the rights of political prisoners, particularly in the case of Dr GN Saibaba, also a professor of DU.
After over two years of continuing investigations and denial of bail to the incarcerated, the Maharashtra Police and now the NIA enjoy complete impunity and are even feted by the Ministry of Home Affairsfor their fervent investigations on the basis of flimsy evidence.
Even as Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha and Mahesh Raut’s health deteriorates within prison, the lives of the incarcerated are deemed unworthy merely on the basis of allegations even as the prosecution has consistently failed to prove their charges in court.Summons by the NIA at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is in full swing in cities like Delhi puts the lives of these teachers and their families at risk while causing them immense anguish. Yet, in the name of investigation, this harassment continues.
Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad dragnet threatens to engulf the university community at large, drown out and silence voices of dissent and consume critical thinkingWhile the violence at Bhima Koregaon perpetuated by Manohar “Sambhaji” Bhide and Milind Ekboteis ignored, intellectuals allegedly involved with Bhima Koregaon or the Elgaar Parishad, who in fact have no relation with either, face incarceration or the threat of it. The effort appears to be to harass, threaten and silence and force them to implicate others in the case.
This tactic has become commonplace among State forces, as witnessed in the targeting of civil rights activists like Father Stan Swamy in to the Bhima Koregoan-Elgaar Parishad case and academics like Professor Apoorvanandand several others in the Delhi Riots case.
Today, the Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad dragnet threatens to engulf the university community at large, drown out and silence voices of dissent and consume critical thinking and engagement. Simultaneously, anti-intellectualism, chauvinism and bigotry are given a fillip as agents of Brahmanical Hindutva fascism are shielded and lauded by institutions of the State for perpetuating the worst atrocities on the people of this country.
In light of the intensifying attack on dissent, critical thinking and democratic rights through the Bhima Koregaon and the Delhi Riots cases, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) urges all the progressive and democratic sections of our society to unite and condemn this spate of arrests, harassment in the name of investigation and the threat of arrest looming over several more academics,activists, artists, journalists, lawyers, poets and trade unionists. We demand:
- Immediate release of all activists and intellectuals charged in the fabricated Bhima Koregaon case.
- Immediate release of all anti-CAA, NRC and NPR activists.
- Immediate release of all political prisoners and immediate de-congestion of prisons.
- Repeal of all draconian laws including UAPA, PSA, NSA and others.
*AISA, AISF, APCR, BCM, Bhim Army, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, BSCEM, CEM, CRPP, CTF, Disha, DISSC, DSU, DTF, IAPL, IMK, Karnataka Janashakti, KYS, Lokpaksh, LSI, Mazdoor AdhikarSangathan, Mazdoor Patrika, MehnatkashMahilaSangathan, MorchaPatrika, NAPM, NBS, NCHRO, Nowruz, NTUI, People’s Watch, RihaiManch, Samajwadi Janparishad, Satyashodak Sangh, SFI, United Against Hate, WSSSHARE