The arrest and incarceration of Prof. Hany Babu Tharayil of Delhi University in the Bhima Koregaon violence case is yet another instance of how the NDA government at the Centre is using its investigating agencies to harass people who oppose its ideology.
Dr Babu, a human rights activist and being vocal about it, is accused of having links with those involved in the violent incidents that took place as part of the Elgar Parishad event organised by the Kabir Kala Manch at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017.
According to NIA, Prof. Babu propagated Naxal activities, Maoist ideologies and was being a “co-conspirator” in the case. The agency had arrested two other accused, writer and Dalit thinker Anand Teltumbde and journalist Gautam Navlakha, on April 14.
The case of an event of local violence was being investigated by the Maharashtra police when the Union government took over the case in February this year and handed it over to NIA.
It may be recalled that Sharad Pawar, supremo of the Nationalist Congress Party, a partner in the Maharashtra’s ruling coalition, had called the takeover “unfair” and said a special investigation team must probe the case.
The draconian provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which have been slapped against the intellectuals, will ensure that they will rot behind the bars as is the case of poet Varavara Rao, who has been jailed in the same case, for a long time.
And it will happen at time when BJP leaders such as Kapil Sharma, who openly called for violent attack on people during the riots in Delhi, will roam about freely in the nation’s capital with impunity.
The message is clear: the ruling dispensation can put behind bars intellectuals opposed to it one after the other and allow the real trouble-makers go scot free. Not a comforting message at all.