Five days after he was arrested by Maharashtra police for suspected Maoist links and remanded in judicial custody, Delhi University on Thursday suspended professor G N Saibaba, the wheelchair-bound English professor, till further notice.
“The university received a letter from the college recommending suspension of the professor yesterday (Wednesday), which it decided to accept today. The professor stands suspended with immediate affect,” Malay Neerav, media co-ordinator, Delhi University, said.
Authorities from Ramlal Anand, however, said the suspension was only a “procedural matter that should not be viewed as punishment”.
“It is a deemed suspension in accordance with Central government rules. Once cleared of his charges, he can request for revocation of the suspension order,” a senior official from Ramlal Anand College told Newsline.
Meanwhile, the arrest sparked protests, with parties condemning and supporting the move in equal measure. While Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) and BJP student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad held a protest demanding Saibaba be arrested, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemned the arrest and demanded intervention by National Human Rights Commission to ensure his release. The Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association too condemned the “gross violations of Saibaba’s human rights in judicial custody”.
NHRC spokesperson Jaimini Kumar, however, said he was not aware of any complaint being filed by PUCL regarding Saibaba’s arrest. “If a complaint is lodged, the commission will take appropriate action,” he said.
The Gadhchiroli police claimed that documents in the external hard disk seized from the professor’s residence last year contained “clinching” evidence to establish his “Maoist identity”.
The chargesheet filed against Saibaba and alleged Maoists couriers Prashant Rahi and Hem Mishra observed that a meeting of the fraction committee (FC) — one of the urban panels of CPI (Maoists) — referred to a residence eviction notice served by DU on Chetan. The meeting further noted that the issue was later resolved and Chetan was allowed to stay on. The chargesheet observes that since Saibaba had also been served an eviction notice by DU, but was subsequently allowed to stay on, Chetan was none other than Saibaba himself.
According to the chargesheet, a letter written by Prakash to central committee (CC) about organising the Anuradha Gandhi (late Maoists leader) memorial lecture and communication between Maoists leader late Azad and the CC were also found on Saibaba’s external hard disk.
According to police, Saibaba was the communication hub between the urban and underground Maoists cadres and was operating with two main aliases — Prakash and Chetan — as one of the five members of the FC.
Police said a “clinching” letter to the CC was also found on the hard disk. The letter referred to the financial problems faced by the FC and requested it to send Rs 15 lakh for various activities. The chargesheet said the letter proved that Saibaba and others in the FC were receiving funds from CPI (Maoists).
Inputs from ENS, Nagpur