The National Investigation Agency on Friday summoned Prem Kumar Vijayan, a professor at the English department at Delhi University, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case, The Times of India reported. He is the second professor from the university to be questioned in the case in less than a month.
“I have been called tomorrow [Friday] morning at the headquarter here [in Delhi],” Vijayan told the newspaper. “It is just a summon notice which I have received.”
Vijayan will be produced before the deputy superintendent of police, NIA, in New Delhi, according to the notice by the investigative agency.
On July 28, the NIA had arrested Delhi University professor MT Hany Babu. He also teaches in the university’s English department and is well-known as an anti-caste activist.
Several of Babu’s students and civil rights groups have criticised his arrest, calling it an attempt to criminalise and silence intellectuals in India. The Delhi Police on Wednesday booked six students for organising protests against Babu’s arrest and defying prohibitory orders.
Babu’s home was searched by the Maharashtra Police in September 2019 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.
Both Babu and Vijayan are members of the committee formed to defend GN Saibaba, a former Delhi University professor who is currently serving a life term in Nagpur for his alleged links to the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
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.
Violence broke out between Dalits and Marathas in the village of Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1, 2018. This came a day after an event in Pune called the Elgar Parishad was organised to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in 1818 in which the Dalit Mahar soldiers fighting for the British Army defeated the Brahmin Peshwa rulers of the Maratha empire. One person died in violence during a bandh called by Dalit outfits on January 2.
The investigating agency named 11 of the 23 accused in the FIR, including activists Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha. Except Teltumbde and Navlakha, the others were arrested by Pune Police in June and August 2018 in connection with the violence. They were accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and are still in prison.