Hany Babu
Hany Babu

Mumbai: The academicians from Delhi say that Hany Babu, recently arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for Maoist links in the Elgar Parishad - Bhima Koregaon case has been targeted for his work to get reservations implemented in Delhi University (DU).

The DU would earlier not fulfil its OBC quota obligations. Babu, through RTI applications exposed the anomaly. He met politicians so that the matter was taken up in the Parliament. As a result, the university was compelled to fill seats through quota, many which would earlier unofficially be filled with general quota admissions. He made sure that reservation was implemented at teaching posts too.

The 54-year-old Keralite, whom many call a soft-spoken serious academic, was also involved in movements to release political prisoners like GN Saibaba, a DU professor with 90 per cent disability serving a life-term in Nagpur prison for Maoist links. “He was able to connect the macro-level and micro-level issues and do concrete work at the micro-level. That made the powers-that-be feel threatened,” says Saroj Giri, a social commentator and professor of political science at DU.

Sachin N., Babu’s colleague at DU in the English department, says he knows Babu for the past 13 years and calls the case “trumped-up” and the act of Babu’s arrest an “undermining of democratic forces” of the country.

An associate professor at St. Stephens College, Karen Gabriel has worked with Babu on the Committee for Defence and Release of Saibaba. She points that the profile of people that are targeted are those who have worked actively for social equality and have been vocal and written about these issues. “The government is trying to silence voices that are championing causes of the downtrodden sections of society,” says Vikas Gupta, an assistant professor at the DU’s history department. Babu’s wife Jenny Rowena says, “There were days he would be so involved in work that he would not come home for days. Somebody would want him to be punished for the work he did.”

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