Miranda House Students Collective
On 10th September at 6:30 am, 20 officers of the Pune Police conducted searches at the residence of academic-activist, Dr. Hany Babu M.T., in Noida, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. Ms. Jenny Rowena, Professor, Department of English, Miranda House, DU wrote about the incident on Facebook –
“Today, the Pune police entered our house at 6.30 in the morning. They said that Hany Babu (my husband) who teaches at Delhi University English Department, is involved in the Bhima Koregaon case and for this, they could search the house without a search warrant. They searched the house for up to six hours, took three books and his laptop, phone, hard disks and pen drives. They just left now.”
Dr. Babu teaches English in the University of Delhi, is a noted anti-caste activist and a staunch proponent of social justice. Being the coordinator of the ‘Alliance of Social Justice’ and a member of the ‘Joint Action Front for Democratic Education’, he has extensively worked to ensure justice and democracy in higher educational institutions. Many of his writings highlight the caste-based discriminatory nature of the Central Universities and they are an important contribution to the movement for equality and justice.
Almost immediately after the news of search being conducted at his residence came out, a petition was circulated by former and current students of Dr. Babu extending support and solidarity with the words, “Professor, he is our Professor.”
We, as students and stakeholders of society, wish to point out that such an invasion of privacy and forceful confiscation of Dr. Babu’s phone, laptop and hard drives is paramount to a violation of constitutional and humanitarian rights. Dr. Babu in a Twitter statement said, “As a teacher, my work is heavily dependent on the material I have saved on my laptop and hard disk. It also contains the research work I have been pursuing for years. This is not something that can be duplicated. This is years of my hard work.” This is a gross violation of Dr. Babu’s rights and can only be construed as “intimidation and harassment by the Pune police, and, by extension, the current government in power, to silence activists, professors and other citizens who support human rights in this country.”
We the students of Miranda House, extend our unconditional support and solidarity to Dr. Babu and our own professor Dr.Jenny Rowena during these state use of police forces as a tool to clamp down any voice that stands for social justice. This is not a case in isolation. Pune Police has conducted many such searches and has even arrested prominent human rights activists alleging them to be associated with the violence that happened on 1st of January 2018 at Bhima Koregaon. What happened at there last year was a caste atrocity committed by the Brahmanical forces who attacked the Ambedkarites, Buddhists, and Dalits of Maharashtra who went to there to commemorate the 200 years of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. The perpetrators of this brutal violence were publicly identified and named. Even after strong protests, the Pune police failed to arrest them and one of the perpetrators managed to get anticipatory bail from the court before his arrest. The Maharashtra government stood completely incapable of providing justice to the people who were attacked. It went on to arrest more than 20,000 youths and activists, mostly from Scheduled Castes, who held demonstration all over the state against the violence. Moreover, the Pune Police claimed the alleged involvement of Maoists in the Bhima Koregaon violence and started arresting prominent activists. We believe that this is a deliberate act of the state to protect the perpetrators of Bhima Koregaon Atrocity and silence the voices that stand for the cause of justice and human rights.
Dr. Hany Babu and Dr. Jenny Rowena, we hear you. We stand by you. And together we resist. You do not stand alone. Even if we are attacked, even if our voices are stifled, even if our liberties are attacked. With you we stand and together, we resist.
We appeal to the larger students community of Miranda House and Delhi University to lend their unconditional support to our Professors and join today’s protest at the Arts Faculty at 2 pm. The protest call is given by former and current students of Dr. Hany Babu.