IISER-Kolkata Associate Professor Partho Sarothi Ray summoned by NIA: over 200 eminent persons & organisations issue solidarity message

Dr Partho Sarothi Ray, Associate Professor of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Kolkata, has been summoned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case. He was asked to be present before the investigators in Mumbai on September 10.

Over 200 educationists, intellectuals, authors, activists, filmmakers, politicians and various organisations across the country and beyond, have come out in support of the Associate Professor. Arundhati Roy, author and activist, Sukanta Chaudhuri, Professor Emeritus, Jadavpur University, Supriya Chaudhuri, Professor Emerita, Jadavpur University, Partha Chatterjee, Professor, Columbia University, Nivedita Menon, Professor, JNU, Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Emeritus, JNU, Sumit Sarkar, historian, Dr Binayak Sen, Ranjit Sur, Kumar Rana, human rights activists are among the signatories.

Former Kolkata Mayor and CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, CPI (M-L) Red Star’s Alik Chakraborty, actors, filmmakers and playwrights Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Kaushik Sen, Anik Dutta, Anindita Sarbadhikari are among the other signatories.

The Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) has called a meeting on September 10 in Kolkata’s Moulali at 2 pm to protest this. The organisation will place its protest and demands before the Union Home Minister through West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

At the Elgar Parishad conclave at Shaniwarwada, inflammatory speeches were delivered on December 31, 2017 by Maoist leaders, allege the Pune Police, leading to large scale violence at Koregaon Bhima war memorial the next day. Some of the activists who have been accused for having links with the Elgar Parishad conclave include Anand Teltumbde, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha, among others.

This is the full text of the solidarity message, titled “Statement in solidarity with Dr Partho Sarothi Roy”:

We have come to know that our dear friend and comrade Dr Partho Sarothi Ray, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), has been summoned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case. He has been asked to present himself before the investigators in Mumbai on 10 September at 11am.

Partho has been pro-actively involved with peaceful, democratic people’s movements, especially the struggles for the rights of poor and marginalised dalits and adivasis. He is an active member of Persecuted Prisoners’ Solidarity Committee as well as Joint Action Committee for Social Justice. His tireless work in defence of civil liberties and for the release of political prisoners is exemplary. Partho has been ever-present in marches, rallies, and other street programmes with his stirring but lucid speeches and an endearing smile.

At IISER, Partho has been carrying out extensive and useful research on molecular biology. His pioneering work on viruses has taken him to the lecture-halls in universities and scientific gatherings across the globe. He is a front-runner in the present battle against Covid-19 and his idea of community participation has been successfully implemented in Nadia district, inviting widespread interest. He was among the scientists consulted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to understand the character of the Coronavirus and formulate a policy to tackle the pandemic.

The harassment of Dr Ray by the NIA is yet another sinister attempt in the fascist regime’s witch-hunt at silencing the voices of dissent and protest. We, the undersigned, strongly condemn this brazen assault on democratic activities and demand immediate withdrawal of NIA’s menacing, threatening interrogation notice. We stand hand-in-hand with Dr Partho Sarothi Ray.

Several organisations have also signed in the solidarity message including All India Central Council of Trade Union (AICCTU), All India Kshet Mazdoor Kisan Sabha (AIKMKS), Adibashi Samanyaya Mancha, All India Peoples’ Science Network, All India Revolutionary Students’ Organisation (AIRSO), Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, IIT Madras, Ambedkar-Periyar-Phule Study Circle, IIT Bombay, Bandi Mukti Committee, No NRC Movement, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), West Bengal, Delhi Science Forum, Delhi, Feminists in Resistance, Jadavpur Commune, Jai Bhim India Network, Jomi Jibika Bastutantro o Poribesh Raksha Committee, People’s Film Collective.

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