Published: 17th August 2020
Student support has been outstanding: DU Prof PK Vijayan who was summoned by the NIA
The professor is a English teacher at the University’s Hindu College and was summoned for an investigation by the NIA on August 14
Three days ago, Delhi University Professor PK Vijayan was asked to appear before the National Intelligence Agency for an investigation into the Bhima Koregaon incident. Just a few weeks ago, another DU professor, Hany Babu was taken into custody by the NIA. Vijayan was called along with Rakesh Ranjan, also a professor at the University. There has been an outpouring of support for the professors especially from their students, even as the teaching fraternity has been shocked by recent events.
Vijayan says he was not completely surprised at being summoned by the NIA because he had seen what had happened with Babu and knew that he might be targetted too, “I knew that it was possible. I have been on the Defence Committee (for GN Saibaba) and there was some extent of surveillance in the past as well. So I felt that there was a chance that they would investigate me as well. Of course, for Babu they raided his house first and then summoned him for questioning. For me, they just directly called me for the investigation,” he said. The professor is a English teacher at the University’s Hindu College.
The professor had to wait for five years for the investigation to begin and was interrogated for three to fours hours. He has also been told that he may be called again if the need arises. While he cannot discuss what happened at the interrogation under the advise of his lawyers, Vijayan said that the experience itself was very stressful and is something he hopes he won’t be put through again.
After what happened to Babu, Vijayan was worried about being detained as well, “Since they didn’t conduct any raids I didn’t think they would detain me but I was quite apprehensive and was worried.” Vijayan hasn’t slept in the last three days, “It has been quite tough on my family as well. Just the sheer tension of attending the investigation left us all quite stressed out. The families are usually more affected, they were upset to see me go but were very relieved to see me back.” Vijayan says he completely believes in Babu’s innocence and hopes that he is free soon. “It is in court so I can’t say anything but I’m sure whatever they say they’ve ‘discovered’ on his device has not been put there by him,” he adds.
The support that Vijayan has been getting from his students he says has been ‘outstanding’. “My friends and colleagues have also given me immense support but from my students the support has just been so overwhelming and outstanding. They have just been so wonderful to me,” he said. Yet, he says this is not something that he would want to go through again.
So has this experience scared him or discouraged him from participating in any activities, “Are you asking me if I’ll shut up? No, not at all. If everybody starts shutting up then there will be nothing to live for in this country. If you need to save it then you need to speak up. They also need to understand that. Intimidation is not going to lead us anywhere in this way.”
Hany Babu was the 12th person to be arrested in a series of arrests carried out by the police since 2018 in connection to the Bhima Koregaon case — this includes Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves. Ever since there have been protests to release the activists and academics.