The voices against the arrest of Delhi University professor GN Saibaba by Maharashtra Police grew louder on Saturday with friends, colleagues and students protesting against the manner and reasons he was picked up.
Members of Democratic Students' Union hold a sitting protest outside Maharashtra Sadan against the arrest of Delhi University's Dr GN Saibaba by the Maharashtra police in New Delhi. (Saumya Khandelwal/HT photo)
More than 50 people gathered outside Maharashtra Sadan on Saturday afternoon to speak out against the arrest, demanding that charges against Saibaba be dropped.
A delegation of five people submitted a memorandum to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, demanding his immediate and unconditional release. Voices were heard against the manner in which Saibaba was arrested.
"Neither he nor his wife was shown the arrest warrant. The Maharashtra Police did not apply for a transit remand and that is why we are calling it an abduction. He is 90% disabled and a heart patient. To arrest him in this manner is criminal. The courts need to step in and ask the police to uphold a person's rights," said Nirmalangshu Mukherji, a professor at DU's department of philosophy. According to the police, however, due process was followed in his arrest.
Saibaba teaches English at Ram Lal Anand College in Delhi University and has been at the forefront of various struggles inside the university as well as outside, most recently against the semester system and the four year undergraduate system.
He is a member of the Revolutionary Democratic Front and is an outspoken critic of central and state policies on land acquisition and handing over forest land to multinational companies.
He has been on the radar of the Maharashtra Police constantly for the last few months.
The police had raided his house in September, alleging he was in possession of 'stolen property'.
According to his family, there is a strong possibility that the police will plant incriminating evidence in his laptop and other storage devices, which they confiscated in September, to prove that he is in touch with Naxal leaders.
According to university officials, Saibaba will be suspended as per rules as he is in police custody.
Teachers at the university, meanwhile, are planning to start a resistance programme against what they call an unlawful arrest.