Raid an attempt to intimidate and harass activists, writers: JNUTA

Association condemns police action, calls it shocking episode

The JNUTA on Wednesday condemned the raid conducted by Pune police at the residence of Delhi University professor Hany Babu in Noida in connection with the 2017 Elgaar Parishad case for alleged Maoist links and called it an attempt “intended to intimidate and harass him”.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) said that Mr. Babu was a highly respected academic scholar and has been a strong voice for academic freedom, inclusive and accessible public education and democratic and civil liberties.

The search conducted at his residence is another “shocking episode in the ongoing authoritarian attempts by the current regime to intimidate and silence activists, writers, professors, journalists, and human rights defenders across the country”, the JNUTA said.

“This raid on him also foregrounds the heights that police paranoia about critique and dissent has scaled so much so that reading and writing are now seen to be suspicious activities,” they said.

The JNUTA in a statement said that it has been reported that the police spent an inordinate amount of time going through Mr. Babu’s book collection, ultimately settling on confiscating two books that are freely available in the public domain and not on any list of banned publications. “This message is a warning to all academics to fall in line through self-censorship on what they read and write and to give up on the academic ideals of rational evaluation as the basis of critique or endorsement, ” the JNUTA said.

JNUTA added that for any academic, the confiscation of his academic archive is naturally the source of greatest anxiety, but added to this is the very real possibility of mischievous tampering by a police force, which seemed to be out on a fishing expedition.

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