NIA arrests DU professor Hany Babu, say reports

The National Investigation Agency on Tuesday arrested Delhi University professor MT Hany Babu in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case, reported PTI.

Babu will be produced before a special NIA court in Mumbai on Wednesday, according to The Times of India.

On July 11, the agency had summoned Babu to appear before it in Mumbai on July 15. The central investigating agency has claimed that Babu was a co-conspirator in the case and had been “propagating” Maoist activities and ideology.

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Following reports of Babu’s arrest, the All India Students Association tweeted: “The Modi government has unleashed a war on intellectuals and activists who are critical of their policies and politics. We must raise our voice demanding the immediate and unconditional release of DU Professor Hany Babu who was arrested today in the Elgar Parishad case.”

Babu had described the NIA summon as “harassment”. “They are asking me to travel to Mumbai in the middle of a pandemic,” Babu had told Scroll.in. “It is not just a health hazard to me but also to my family. I live in Noida and there are so many restrictions to even travel to Delhi.”

Babu teaches in the university’s English department and is well-known as an anti-caste activist. He is a member of the committee formed to defend GN Saibaba, a former Delhi University professor who is currently serving a life term in Nagpur for his links to the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Babu’s home was searched by the Maharashtra police in September 2019 as part of the investigation into violence that broke out in Bhima Koregaon village near Pune on January 1, 2018, a day after an anti-caste event called the Elgar Parishad was held.

The case

Violence broke out between Dalits and Marathas in the village of Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1, 2018. This came a day after an event in Pune called the Elgar Parishad was organised to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in 1818 in which the Dalit Mahar soldiers fighting for the British Army defeated the Brahmin Peshwa rulers of the Maratha empire. One person died in violence during a bandh called by Dalit outfits on January 2.

The investigating agency named 11 of the 23 accused in the FIR, including activists Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha. Except Teltumbde and Navlakha, the others were arrested by Pune Police in June and August 2018 in connection with the violence. They were accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and are still in prison.

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