Shoumojit BanerjeePUNE: , SEPTEMBER 10, 2019

Wife claims police searched their house for nearly six hours, without a warrant.

A team of the Pune Police on Tuesday conducted searches at the residence of academic-activist, Dr. Hany Babu M.T., in Noida, in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case.

The police team comprised Assistant Commissioner of Police (Swargate division) Shivaji Pawar, the investigating officer in the case along with Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Bachchan Singh and others.

While confirming the raid, ACP Pawar said no arrests have been made so far and that the police had seized some electronic devices from the house.

Dr. Babu’s wife, Jenny Rowena, claimed the police searched their house for nearly six hours, without a warrant and have taken in his laptop, mobile phone and pen drives along with other articles.

A Facebook post by Ms. Rowena read: “Today, the Pune police entered our house at 6.30 in the morning. They said that Hany Babu (my husband) who teaches at Delhi University English Department, is involved in the Bhima Koregaon case and for this they could search the house without a search warrant. They searched the house for up to six hours, took three books and his laptop, phone, hard disks and pen drives. They just left now. (Sic)”

Noida Police Public Relations Officer said that they are not authorised to speak on the matter

Dr. Babu, who teaches English in the University of Delhi, is a noted activist, being the coordinator of the ‘Alliance of Social Justice’ and a member of the ‘Joint Action Front for Democratic Education’.

He was a prominent member of the ‘Committee for the Defense and Release of Dr. G.N. Saibaba’ which had condemned the rejection of granting permanent bail to the disabled and incarcerated Delhi University academic accused of having Maoist links.

Advocate Surendra Gadling, who was defence counsel for Prof. Saibaba, was arrested by the Pune police along with four others including Dalit publisher Sudhir Dhawale, Nagpur University Professor Shoma Sen and activists Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson for their alleged links with the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) and their roles in the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ and the Bhima-Koregaon clashes on June 6 last year.

Mr. Pawar said that the search was conducted as per the FIR registered at Vishrambaug police station (in January last year) under sections 153 (a) [Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race etc], 505 1 (b) among others in connection with the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ held at Pune’s Shaniwarwada Fort on December 31, 2017 as part of the bicentenary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle.

The FIR, based on a complaint by one Tushar Damgude in the immediate aftermath of the Bhima-Koregaon clashes of January 1 last year, was initially lodged against six participants, including Mr. Dhawale. Those named in the FIR were members of the Kabir Kala Manch – a radical Dalit cultural troupe.

On August 28 last year, the Pune City police had carried out a second countrywide crackdown by searching residences of seven other academics and activists.

The houses of activists Sudha Bharadwaj, P. Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde and Father Stan Swamy as part of the second crackdown by the Pune police on alleged ‘Maoist sympathizers’ as part of their investigation into the Bhima-Koregaon clashes.

So far, nine of the twelve activists whose residences were searched have been arrested and are lodged in Pune’s Yerwada prison.

In June this year, the Pune city police raided the octogenarian Fr. Swamy’s house in Ranchi’s Namkum area for the second time, seizing electronic devices and some literature. However, he was not taken into custody.

(With inputs from Hemani Bhandari in New Delhi)

The Hindu