At 6.30 am this morning, Hany Babu and Jenny Rowena both professors at Delhi University were startled to find the Pune Police at their doorstep. The police told them they had come to raid their house but gave no explanation as to why and what is even more interesting is that they had no arrest warrant.
Both the professors are also anti-caste activists and part of the Alliance for Social Justice which is a front that includes students, teachers, administrative staff and organisations of SC, ST, OBC and minority communities from DU and outside. At the end of the six-hour raid, the couple was told that it was in conducted in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. "When they entered they asked us if we knew Rona Wilson and said that they could raid us even without a search warrant. Then they just entered the house and began to look through our books," Jenny said.
The couple said that throughout those six hours, all the police did was look through their books. At the end of the raid, they confiscated three books — From Varna to Jati a book based on the MPhil dissertation of the late Yalavarthi Naveen Babu, Understand Maoists by N Venugopal and a book on jailed DU prof GN Saibaba released by his defense team. "They simply refused to give us any explanation as to why they were looking through all our books. Only at the very end, they said it was in connection to Bhima Koregaon and said if they found any evidence to corroborate the ones they had, then they would arrest Hany," Jenny explained. They gave the couple a phone number and left.
Colleague, friend: GN Saibaba has been fighting to get out of jail for years now, even the UN had asked the government to release the activist
The couple believes the raid could be in connection with GN Saibaba, "When he was arrested, we did not leave him in the lurch. He was our friend and we supported him as a colleague and friend. But we have no connection or the slightest clue about anything else. We don't even have a connection with left parties, we are both anti-caste activists." Jenny said that Hany had fought for OBC reservation, caste and gender issues, marginalised students and she herself has written on caste.
The fact that they were only going through our books proved to us what their agenda was, Hany tells us. "It is very clear that they are trying to intimidate us and shut up the people who are working for human rights. Any person linked with any kind of struggle or any intellectual is being targeted. The fact that they want to go through our books is the kind of thing they do when they want to attack us for our thought and ideology," Hany said.
These are books that are sold in the market and in public, Hany said. "I have all kinds of books but they were only looking at particular ones. I have books on Kashmir, even the RSS. But they didn't see the RSS book and accuse me of being RSS. This was an agenda, a project," the professor and activist said.
However, what he is most worried about is losing all the material on his hard disk and laptop. "There is so much of my work in there, all my academic work is in there and I'm entitled to get it all back but my biggest worry is that I'll lose it all," he said. On what their next steps are likely to be, the couple said that it's still too early to decide since it only just happened but would think about handling it legally, "We will definitely protest against this," Jenny said.