Delhi: Public Meeting ‘Democracy & Dissent: Understanding the Abduction and Arrest of Dr. GN Saibaba’, Jun 3

3rd June Poster

Democracy & Dissent: Understanding the Abduction and Arrest of Dr. GN Saibaba

On the 9th of May, Dr. G N Saibaba, an English teacher of Ram Lal Anand College in Delhi University and a well-known human rights activist, was abducted from within the Delhi University premises, flown to Maharashtra, produced before a magistrate in Aheri, and then lodged in the Nagpur Central jail. A posse of plain-clothed police personnel along with some personnel from the Delhi Police abducted Saibaba, a wheelchair bound person with 90% disability, in the afternoon around 1:30 pm when was returning home from examination duty at Daulat Ram College. All of this was done in complete violation of basic human rights, regulations and laws.

The abduction and arrest comes months after the arbitrary raid conducted at Saibaba’s residence on the 12th of September 2013 on the trumped up charges of recovering ‘stolen property’ and ‘objectionable material’. The charges were merely an excuse to trespass, illegally seize and then threaten Saibaba. This was followed by an interrogation in January 2014, during which Saibaba and his family extended their full cooperation. The raid, the interrogation, the threats and the continuous and unscrupulous smear campaign amount to deliberate and calculated harassment. Despite severe threats and the sustained harassment, Saibaba continuously cooperated with the police. His arrest, his continued judicial remand in an anda cell, the denial of medication, adequate facilities and assistance and the ever-expanding list of fabricated charges, violate Saibaba’s basic rights.

In this instance too, there is a clear pattern of branding, maligning, threatening and then, incarcerating and torturing people like Hem Mishra, a cultural activist, Prashant Rahi, a freelance journalist, and now Dr. Saibaba, a lecturer. They are among the thousands of undertrials languishing in jails across the country on trumped up charges under draconian laws like the UAPA. The aim of these actions is to stifle critique and voices of dissent. The coercive apparatus of the State is deployed against those who speak up for the impoverished, the marginalized, the dispossessed, the dalits, adivasis, women, and speak against the organized land grab and state-corporate loot of common resources.

This public meeting will address itself to the host of ramifying issues that emerge in relation to what is happening across the country. It will look at various incidences and cases of this kind, and the implications of this for notions of democracy and dissent.

The university and intellectual community demands the immediate and unconditional release of Saibaba. It appeals to all revolutionary and democratic organisations and individuals to come together in solidarity with every such voice of dissent that languishing behind bars.

Join us on the 3rd of June, Tuesday, at Gandhi Peace Foundation from 2:30 pm for a public meeting and discussion of democracy and dissent.