A special court in Mumbai on Friday sent Delhi University professor MT Hany Babu to judicial custody till August 21 in the Bhima Koregaon case, PTI reported. He was arrested by the National Investigation Agency on July 28.

Babu was produced before the special court as his NIA custody ended. The investigation agency said that it did not want to keep him in custody any longer and urged the court to instead send him to judicial custody, according to the Hindustan Times.

Babu teaches at the Delhi University’s Department of English and is well-known as an anti-caste activist. He is a member of the committee formed to defend GN Saibaba, a former Delhi University professor who is currently serving a life term in Nagpur for allegations of links to the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

In 2019, his home was searched by the Maharashtra Police as part of their investigation into violence that broke out in Bhima Koregaon village near Pune on January 1, 2018, a day after an anti-caste event called the Elgar Parishad was held. The police had seized several electronic devices and books from Babu’s home.

Several of Babu’s students and civil rights groups have criticised his arrest, calling it an attempt to criminalise and silence intellectuals in India.

On July 31, a group of over 300 students of the Delhi University professor released a statement in solidarity with the activist and said the NIA’s warrant against him was a “direct attack on education, activists and the academic space at large”.

Apart from Babu, activists Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha have been arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case.