Delhi University suspends Saibaba

Five days after he was arrested by the Maharashtra Police for his alleged links with the Maoists, Professor G N Saibaba was suspended by the Delhi University on Thursday.

As per the service rules, if a person is either in police or judicial custody for 48 hours or more they are automatically suspended, said a university official. Saibaba was remanded in 14 days judicial custody on May 10, after he was booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The governing body of DU’s Ram Lal Anand college, where Saibaba teaches English, had recommended his suspension and on Thursday his suspension was approved by the university.

Saibaba, who is wheelchair-bound, came under the police radar after the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University student Hemant Mishra.

Hemant had allegedly told security agencies that he acted as a courier between the professor and Maoists holed up in the Abujhmadh forests of Bastar and Gadchiroli regions.

Some university officials allege that Saibaba had been issued notices for using hostel premises for propagating Maoist ideology. “Despite notices, Saibaba continued to occupy his room in Gwyer Hall, a men’s hostel, allocated to him six-years-ago when he was a PhD student,” said a university official, alleging suspicious use of hostel premises. 

Earlier, the ABVP had organised a protest on Thursday demanding his arrest. ABVP's national secretary Rohit Chahal said that Saibaba and a miniscule section of teachers in the university have been propagating Maoist ideology among the students. ABVP students, after the demonstration, paid homage to the seven jawans killed in the Maoist landmine attack in Gadchiroli, a day after Saibaba’s arrest. The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) president, however, called the incident unfortunate. Nandita Narain, DUTA president, said that the university should have withheld the suspension order until the hearing.

She said that if the court grants him bail, the suspension review committee should revoke the decision. Saibaba is a valuable academic, added Narain. Earlier, his arrest on May 9 from the university campus in a hush-hush operation had evoked strong criticism from a section of civil society and the university community.

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