A sessions court in Gadricholi convicted a Delhi University professor GN Saibaba and five others for their alleged connection with the banned CPI-Maoists on Tuesday. Saibaba was sentenced to a life term.
Maharashtra: DU professor GN Saibaba and 5 others convicted by Gadchiroli court under UAPA act pic.twitter.com/VXRNRJ9H06
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 7, 2017
According to Financial Express, JNU student Hem Mishra, former journalist Prashant Rahi were among those convicted. Saibaba, an English professor of Ram Lal Anand College is disabled; earlier, he was lodged in Nagpur Central Jail for 14 months but granted bail on medical grounds by the Bombay High Court in June 2016.
The Indian Express reported that Judge SS Shinde convicted the accused under sections 13, 18, 20, 38 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The others accused in the case are: Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Narote and Vijay Tirki.
According to DNA, the Supreme Court had granted Saibaba bail while citing that the Maharashtra government had been "extremely unfair" to him earlier this month. He requested his college to reinstate his services following which a one-member committee had decided to look into the issue.
While the Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) was supporting Saibaba's reinstatement, a group of students led by members of ABVP had opposed it claiming that such a move will have a "bad influence" on students.
The Indian Express said that prosecution lawyer Prashant Sathianathan sought that the accused be given life imprisonment under section 20 of the Act. Sathianathan added that no reprieve should be granted to Saibaba for his disability as that did not deter him from aiding and abating violent activities that claimed many lives. Saibaba's visits to the college last week were met with protests from the ABVP.
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".
According to an earlier Firstpost article, on 9 May 2014, when Saibaba was heading back home from the university, a group of policemen in plain clothes 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.
Dr Vijay Kumar Sharma, principal, RLA College, had told Firstpost then, "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." The inquiry committee went through the documents related to Saibaba that allegedly shows his strong Maoist links.
Updated Date: Mar 07, 2017 15:22 PM