The road ahead for Delhi University professor Dr GN Saibaba – who was arrested and faced trial for alleged Maoist links – seems to be full of hurdles.
Even after getting unconditional bail from the Supreme Court (SC) in April 2016, this assistant professor at Ram Lal Anand (RLA) College, Delhi University, is yet to be reinstated.
Saibaba was arrested by the Maharashtra police in May 2014 and was granted bail in July 2015 (which the Bombay High Court cancelled in December 2015). He was finally granted bail by the SC in April this year, yet, there is no respite for the wheel-chair bound professor.
Post his bail, when Saibaba visited his college on 25 April, he was allegedly heckled by a right-wing group with slogans like “Deshdrohi wapas jao” (Traitor! Go back!).
Within a period of five days, three attempts were made to attack Professor GN Saibaba inside the college campus – allegedly by ‘the members and goons of the right-wing affiliated students union’.
It didn’t end there.
To his utter surprise, Saibaba received a letter from the RLA College management on Tuesday (12 July), mentioning “Saibaba’s suspension from services would continue till the criminal case against him in Maharashtra is settled.”
“I had been waiting for the report of the one-man enquiry committee appointed to look into my case and reinstatement. But, the letter I received from college principal was shocking as the governing body ensured my ouster from the job by not allowing me to join,” GN Saibaba told Firstpost.
“There are thousands of cases where employees, after getting bail, get reinstated. I got unconditional bail from the apex court, in spite of that I haven’t been allowed to join the college. They are using allegations against me to prevent me from joining, fearing that I would question several cases of irregularities and corruption, which I had questioned earlier as well. There are cases where students belonging to SC, ST and OBC categories haven’t been given admission. The roster was manipulated,” he added.
While Saibaba, allegedly considered to a Naxal ideologue, is yet to decide his further course of action, an independent body – Committee for the defence and release of Dr GN Saibaba – comprising of academicians, college professors, editors, and writers, has questioned the governing body’s decision.
What the Committee for defence of Saibaba has to say
Condemning the decision, the committee in its statement said, “The College is trying to frame, criminalise and intimidate Dr Saibaba, who has been an unrelenting and tireless fighter for the rights of the oppressed and the downtrodden.”
“Dr Saibaba has got unconditional bail from SC, which allows him to teach. There’s no complaint from his students against him; rather they have extended support to him and wrote articles in his favour. There are many cases in academic world, where one has been allowed to join classes after getting bail. This governing body is not a legitimate body and the one-man committee is a sham. We’ll appeal to the Delhi University vice chancellor against this decision,” Prof G Haragopal, Committee’s chairperson and ICSSR National Fellow, TISS Hyderabad, told Firspost.
What is Prof Saibaba’s case all about?
Saibaba was arrested by the Maharashtra (Gadchiroli) police for alleged Maoist links in 2014. After the arrest, he was suspended from RLA College. It was on the afternoon of 9 May 2014, when Saibaba was heading back home from the university, that a group of policemen in plainclothes stopped his car, dragged his driver out and drove him out of the university campus.
The next morning, after his arrest from Delhi, he was flown to Nagpur, where the District Magistrate heard his case and sent him to prison. He spent 14 months in jail before the Mumbai High Court granted him bail for six months in July last year, in view of his deteriorating health condition. He had to surrender and again go back to jail in December. He was finally granted bail by the Supreme Court in April this year and the RLA College’s governing body constituted a one-member committee to revoke his suspension and reinstate him.
What RLA College management says?
Dr Vijay Kumar Sharma, principal, RLA College, told Firstpost, “The decision of the governing body has been communicated to GN Saibaba through a letter. It is based on the recommendations of the one-member inquiry committee. The governing body has mentioned that he can’t be reinstated unless there’s approval from the vice chancellor.”
According to sources, the inquiry committee went through the documents related to Saibaba that allegedly shows his strong Maoist links.
What the Right-wing student body says?
Meanwhile, the right-wing student body – Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – that had been objecting the presence of Saibaba in the college campus due to his alleged Maoist links, said the law would decide the course of action.
“It’s a known fact that Saibaba has strong Maoist links and he is the face of Naxals in Delhi. The Maharashtra police, on the basis of evidence, arrested him and sent him to jail. The matter is subjudice and the law will take its course. In April, it the ABVP members were blamed for attacking him, which is false and baseless,” national spokesperson and media in-charge of ABVP, Shreerang Kulkarni told Firstpost.