Arundhati Roy protests arrest of Hany Babu

Award-winning author Arundhati Roy on Wednesday slammed the BJP government for the “relentless and ongoing incarceration of activists, academics and lawyers”, a day after Hany Babu, an associate professor of the Delhi University and a noted anti-caste activist was arrested by the NIA in the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case.

“The arrest of the anti-caste activist and Delhi University Professor Hany Babu is the latest in the string of arrests that have been made by the NIA in the Bhima-Koregaon case,” Roy said in a statement.

Babu is the 12th person to be arrested in the Elgar Parishad case. Sudha Bharadwaj, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha were arrested earlier in the same case and all are in jail now.

Professor Hany Babu who teaches in the English department of the university is a noted anti-caste activist and a staunch proponent of social justice.

Roy’s statement reads: “The relentless and ongoing incarceration of activists, academics and lawyers in this case is a manifestation of this Government’s understanding that this nascent, emerging secular, anti-caste and anti-capitalist politics that these people represent, provides an alternative narrative to Hindu fascism and poses the clearest threat—culturally, economically as well as politically—to its own disastrous Hindu Nationalist politics that has led this country into a crisis that has blighted the lives of hundreds of millions of people which ironically includes its own supporters.”

“He is charged in Bhima Koregaon case for speaking out,” said author Meena Kandasamy.

“If you thought Bhima-Koregaon was about naxal hunt you are being fooled. Just as it is a way to incarcerate people who opposed corporate takeover of the forests, its also a way to criminalise those who spoke about reservation and caste struggle,” she added.

Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) is a platform with over 36 organisations, including democratic rights organisations, student’s organisations, teacher’s organisations, trade unions and women’s organisations has also condemned the arrest and said “We are particularly appalled to hear of the efforts made by the NIA to pressurise Prof. Babu to implicate himself and others as part of the fabricated Bhima Koregaon-Elgaar Parishad case.”

The concerned students of Miranda House, University of Delhi also stand in solidarity with Hany Babu and his wife and Delhi University faculty Jenny Rowena .

“We unequivocally condemn his arrest and demand his immediate release,” students said in a statement.

“We stands in solidarity with Prof Hany Babu. We won’t stay quiet till justice is served. Stop targeting activists, academicians and students,” said Labeed Shafi, national president of Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO).

“The Modi Regime must immediately end repression against political activists and academicians,” All India Students Association (AISA) has demanded the release of arrested DU professor.