The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has issued notice to a Kolkata-based professor of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) for questioning in the Elgaar Parishad case for his alleged links with the event near Pune, where incendiary speeches allegedly led to violence on January 1, 2018.
The professor, Partho Sarothi Ray, is a renowned social activist and convenor of the West Bengal unit of the Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC).
According to Ranjit Sur, central secretariat member of the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights, the NIA has asked Ray to appear at the agency’s Mumbai office at 11am on Sept 10. “This is an attempt to throttle the voice of those who are critical of government policies. We will protest against this,” Sur said.
Ray did not respond to calls on his phone and to text messages.
According to Sur, a team of NIA officers tried to meet Ray on the IISER campus and serve the notice. “(But) he refused to meet the NIA team due to Covid-19 guidelines on maintaining physical distancing. The NIA subsequently served him the notice over email. We spoke with him (Ray), and he said he will consult his lawyer and take appropriate steps,” Sur said.
Earlier, in 2012, Ray had been arrested and was in jail for 10 days for allegedly protesting against the Trinamool Congress government’s decision to evict slum-dwellers in Kolkata.
Last year, he was one of the nine human rights activists in the country who were at the receiving end of an alleged spyware campaign, whose aim was to monitor their actions and communications. These activists had called for the release of others who were charged in connection with the Bhima Koregaon incident.
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