Call to Assemble against Continued Police Harassment of Dr. G.N. Saibaba
(Press Release: 4 January 2014)
The DUTA expresses its concern and apprehension on being informed about the interrogation of Dr. GN Saibaba, a teacher in the English Department of Ram Lal Anand College of the University of Delhi, scheduled by Maharashtra Police on the 7th of January 2014 (Tuesday) at 11 am at his residence within the university premises. We have been informed that he is going to be questioned as part of an enquiry carried on by the Maharashtra Police since September 2013. This interrogation follows a raid conducted by a team comprising the Maharashtra and Delhi police on the 12th of September 2013. The raid was conducted on the basis of a misleading search warrant that stated the ‘recovery of stolen property’. The objects confiscated in the raid were clearly the personal property of Dr. Saibaba and taken in unsealed condition leaving it open to the possibility of tampering with the materials. Since the raid, which was conducted in contravention with the due process of enquiry, Dr. Saibaba has faced continuous harassment in the form of imminent threat of arrest as well as a full-fledged smear campaign in the media conducted by the police forces. This smear campaign has repeatedly attempted to portray Dr. Saibaba as someone who has committed offences against the state by speaking for the oppressed and marginalised across the country.
After the raid, the Maharashtra police called Dr. Saibaba to come ‘anywhere outside Delhi’ or to Nagpur for interrogation as part of the enquiry. This was followed by an intervention by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sending a notice to the Maharashtra and Delhi police asking them to respond for asking a physically challenged person to present himself in this manner despite the law clearly stating that such a person need not present himself anywhere outside his residence.
Furthermore, these charges are part of an ongoing investigation and Dr. Saibaba is in no way involved with the case. This fact is of serious concern for the DUTA. Not only is this in violation of the human rights of the professor concerned but is also indicative of the deep erosion of civil liberties enshrined in our Constitution. The DUTA expresses anguish at the continuous harassment of Dr. Saibaba and extends its fullest support to him and his family in this time as well as in his struggle for speaking for the most oppressed and marginalized people. Since he has expressed full cooperation with the investigation and agreed to clear all doubts and misgivings that the investigating officers may have, the DUTA demands that the Maharashtra police will extend all courtesies to a law abiding professor of this university and not persist in harassing him.
The DUTA appeals to all the teachers to be present in large numbers at Dr. Saibaba’s residence, Warden’s Flat, Gwyer Hall, University Road, Delhi University to express our support and solidarity and keep a vigil on any possible intimidation, harassment and arbitrary action by the Maharashtra and Delhi police with regards to Dr. Saibaba, his wife and teenage daughter. We will gather at the Warden’s Flat, Gwyer Hall at 10.30 am on Tuesday, 7th January 2014.
(Nandita Narain) (Harish Khanna)
President, DUTA Secretary, DUTA