By Rishabh Jain:
The harassment of Dr. G.N. Saibaba allegedly by some Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activists, who are acting more like goons, continues. For the past several days, certain sections in the administration who appear to be in cahoots with the ABVP-led Delhi University Students’ Union have been gheraoing and harassing professor Saibaba on campus and making allegations about him being a ‘terrorist’ and an ‘anti-national’. Saibaba, an English teacher with 90% disability, began visiting the college (Ram Lal Anand) after the Supreme Court granted him bail recently. His suspension is yet to be revoked but the college’s governing body has constituted a one-member committee to consider his reinstatement.
On April 22, professor Saibaba visited the college premises, not to take a class but just to have a conversation with 2nd and 3rd-year students of the English department. The joint secretary of DUSU, Chhattarpal Yadav with some other ABVP activists, entered the college premises and intervened between the professor and his students. He started misbehaving with him and abused him. When a senior female teacher tried to interrupt, they misbehaved with her too and after disrupting many other classes and disturbing the peaceful atmosphere of the college, they wrote an application to the principal demanding the removal of G.N. Saibaba from the college. On this day, the whole administration of the college behaved as a mute spectator and it was the students who came out in defense of the professor. They wrote an application and gave it to Delhi University Teachers’ Association. The principal, however, refused even to acknowledge the application when it reached him.
On April 23, on the occasion of the Annual Day of the college, when the students were being awarded for excellence in different fields, Chhattarpal Yadav turned up again with other ABVP activists even when there was huge police presence and tried to terrorise professor Saibaba. They asked the professor to get out of the college. He asked them the reason behind their demand. They also demanded that Saibaba should be removed from the college. This entire incident took place in front of the college principal, chairman and the police, but no one came to his defense and it was the college students and a few teachers again who formed a human chain around him to protect him. No action was taken by the college administration that day as well. An important question that arises here is that since the college administration was very well aware of what had happened on April 22, how did Yadav and fellow activists enter the college the very next day? This shows how insensitive the college principal and the whole administration were towards the case of Prof. Saibaba.
On April 25, again, when professor Saibaba visited the college to submit his application regarding the revocation of his suspension, the DUSU joint secretary along with about 30 to 40 ABVP activists gathered outside the staffroom, tried to gherao (surround) the professor and shouted abusive slogans, calling him an ‘anti-national’ and ‘terrorist’. Chhattarpal Yadav even slapped one boy who was distributing pamphlets regarding what was happening in the college for the last two days. The ABVP ‘goons’ terrorised the students so much that many of them fled the college. In response to this, certain students started a peaceful protest against this fascist onslaught of the ABVP. The police and the college authorities again retained their roles as mute spectators. Finally, seeing the large number of students turn up, the ABVP was forced out of campus by the police.
It seems that the ABVP, in cahoots with the college authorities, is trying to intimidate and harass not just professor Saibaba, but also students and teachers who strive to build a democratic atmosphere in the campus where ideas can be debated and discussed. Saibaba was arrested by the Maharashtra police for alleged Maoist links in 2014. After the arrest, he was suspended from the college. He was recently granted bail by the Supreme Court and the RLA College’s governing body constituted a one-member committee to reinstate him. The Staff Association of RLA college has also issued two resolutions in this matter. Firstly, they have ‘strongly condemned’ the failure of the college principal and administration to stop Yadav and his fellow activists from entering the college, as this has made the students and staff members insecure. Secondly, they have set a time limit for the one-member committee to submit its report on the revocation of the suspension. The role of police in this whole episode is also questionable.
Moreover, we need to understand the role of the administration and college authorities who have remained mute spectators in the whole incident so that ABVP can create a ruckus and foist their brand of right-wing opportunistic politics through means like intimidation. It should be noted that neither the students nor the teachers are against the return of professor Saibaba on campus and in fact, they are delighted to have such a brilliant professor back. We firmly demand the revocation of professor Saibaba’s suspension.
The facts of this article could not be independently verified.
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