200+ Eminent Citizens Condemn the ‘Fascist Regime’s Witch-hunt’ over NIA Notice to Dr. Partho Sarothi Ray

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.

Partho Sarothi Ray
Courtesy: The Week

Dr Partho Sarothi Ray, a well-known scientist and civil liberties activist, 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. The notice was served to Dr Partho Sarothi Ray, Associate Professor of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Kolkata on September 5.

More than 200 eminent academicians, writers, intellectuals, activists, filmmakers, singers, playwrights, organizations and members of political parties have issued a statement condemning the ‘harassment of Dr Ray by the NIA’. The Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) has called a meeting on September 10 in central Kolkata to protest. APDR will place its protest and demands before the Union Home Minister through West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

Although this is the first time Dr Partho Sarothi Ray has been summoned by the NIA, he was, last year, a target of a malware attack. In November last year, Dr. Ray had received a suspicious email which later, in a detailed joint investigation conducted by Amnesty International’s digital team based in Berlin and The Citizen Lab, a research organization which works out of the University of Toronto, was found to be a part of a larger surveillance conspiracy “specially crafted to bait journalists or activists”. Yahoo Mail had also sent a warning to Dr. Partho Sarothi Ray stating that his email account “may have been the target of government-backed actors” which tried to gain access to his information.

42-year-old Dr Ray has been an activist for the past two decades and is the convener of rights’ group Persecuted Prisoners’ Solidarity Committee. He has been demanding the release of political prisoners and working towards the same for long. He is one of the founding members of a left-leaning magazine Sanhati. In 2012, he was arrested by the West Bengal police for his participation in the movement against the uprooting of a large number of slum-dwellers in Nonadanga of Salt Lake.

In recent times, Ray was among the community of scientists who engaged with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to study the COVID-19 virus and also has been actively involved in setting up a COVID-19 facility at Nadia district in West Bengal. Dr. Ray says he will be leaving crucial work behind to attend to the NIA’s summons.

In response to the NIA notice, Dr. Ray said, “This is nothing but a tactic to harass and intimidate me, as is being done with academics and intellectuals all over India. I am a biomedical scientist who has been involved in the battle against COVID-19. I have also stood consistently on the side of the persecuted and disadvantaged. It is very unfortunate that I’m being harassed in this manner at this critical time.”

While the notice only classifies Dr. Ray as a witness, it is worrisome after what happened with Delhi University Associate Professor of English, Hany Babu M.T. The NIA had summoned Babu as a witness in the case and he was later arrested on July 28.

Here is the full text of the solidarity message by more than 200 eminent academicians, writers, intellectuals, activists, filmmakers, singers, playwrights, organizations, and members of political parties:

STATEMENT IN SOLIDARITY WITH DR. PARTHO SAROTHI RAY

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 11 am.

Partho has been pro-actively involved with peaceful, democratic people’s movements, especially the struggles for the rights of poor and marginalized Dalits and Adivasis. He is an active member of the Persecuted Prisoners’ Solidarity Committee as well as the 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 programs 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.

Signed

1. Aamra ek Sachetan Prayas

2. Aamra Monbhashi

3. Aashita Dawer, Professor, OP Jindal Global University

4. Abhijit Roy, Professor, Jadavpur University

5. Achin Chakraborty, Professor, Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata

6. Achin Vanaik, Professor (Retd), University of Delhi

7. Adibashi Gaonta

8. Adibashi Juan Mahal

9. Adibashi Samanyaya Mancha

10. Aditi Chowdhury, Citizen

11. Aditi Roy Ghatak, Journalist

12. Aditya Nigam, Professor, CSDS, Delhi

13. AJC Bose, Professor, SRCC, University of Delhi

14. Alik Chakraborty, CPI (M-L) Red Star

15. All India Central Council of Trade Union (AICCTU)

16. All India Federation of Trade Unions (AIFTU – new)

17. All India Kshet Mazdoor Kisan Sabha (AIKMKS)

18. All India People’s Forum (AIPF)

19. All India Peoples’ Science Network

20. All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA)

21. All India Revolutionary Students’ Organisation (AIRSO)

22. All India Revolutionary Women’s Organisation (AIRWO)

23. All India Sanjukta Kisan Sabha

24. All West Bengal Sales Representatives’ Union (AWBSRU)

25. Aloke Mukherjee, CPI (M-L)

26. Amal Sanyal

27. Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, IIT Madras

28. Ambedkar-Periyar-Phule Study Circle, IIT Bombay

29. Ambikesh Mahapatra, Educationist

30. Amit Bhaduri, Professor (Retd), JNU

31. Amitabha Chakraborty, Activist

32. Aneek Patrika (Bengali Monthly)

33. Anik Dutta, Filmmaker

34. Aniket Chattopadhyay, Filmmaker

35. Anindita Sarbadhikari, Filmmaker

36. Anindya, Blogger

37. Anindya Sengupta, Professor, Jadavpur University

38. Anish Vanaik, Professor, OP Jindal Global University

39. Anomita Sen, Citizen

40. Anup Gampa, Asst Professor, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California

41. Anuroop Mallik, Folk Singer

42. Anwesha Sengupta, Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata

43. Arijit Mitra Smarak Committee

44. Arundhati Dhuru, National Alliance of People’s Movements

45. Arundhati Roy, Writer

46. Arup Dasgupta

47. Ashani Natyam

48. Ashok Choudhary, All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP)

49. Asit Basu

50. Avishek Konar, Professor, OP Jindal Global University

51. Avishek Mukherjee

52. Ayodhya Buru Bachao Andolan

53. Azad Gano Morcha

54. Badshah Moitra, Actor

55. Baidyanath Sengupta, Editor, Samaj Bignan o Prakriti Parichay Patrika

56. Bandi Mukti Committee

57. Bharatiya Adibashi Ekata Mancha

58. Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, MP & Former Mayor, Kolkata Municipal Corporation

59. Bimal Chakraborty

60. Dr Binayak Sen

61. Bodhisatya Ray, Radical Socialist

62. Central Convening Committee (CCC), No NRC Movement

63. Chanchal Chakraborty

64. Chandan Sen, Playwright

65. Charoibeti

66. Chittaroopa Palit, Narmada Bachao Andolan

67. Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), West Bengal

68. Confluence, IISER, Mohali

69. CP Geevan, Former Senior Environmental Scientist, Independent Researcher

70. Das Theke Das Hazaar

71. Debdoot Ghosh

72. Debdutta Paul

73. Delhi Science Forum, Delhi

74. Dhritisree, Theatre Activist

75. Doyeeta Majumder, Professor, Jadavpur University

76. Ebong Bisongbad

77. Prof. Felix Padel

78. Feminists in Resistance

79. Forum Against Monopolistic Aggression (FAMA)

80. Freny Manecksha

81. Dr Fuad Halim, People’s Health Activist

82. Ganatantrik Sangrami Udyog

83. Gautam Chakraborty

84. Gorky Chakraborty, Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata

85. Goutam Seal

86. Hosiery Workers’ Unity Centre

87. Indian Federation of Trade Union (IFTU)

88. Indira Ghose, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

89. Indu Chandrasekhar, Publisher

90. J Devika, Feminist Historian

91. Jadavpur Commune

92. Jai Bhim India Network

93. Jayati Ghosh, Professor, JNU

94. Joint Action Committee for Social Justice

95. Joint Platform of Academicians

96. Jomi Jibika Bastutantro o Poribesh Raksha Committee

97. Joyraj Bhattacharya, Theatre & Social Activist

98. Kaushik Sen, Playwright & Actor

99. KP Fabian, Ambassador (Retd)

100. Kranti Shilpi Sangha

101. Krishna Bandyopadhyay, Activist in Women’s Movements

102. Kumar Rana, Social Activist

103. Kunal Chattopadhyay, Professor, Jadavpur University

104. Kuntal Rudra

105. Little Magazine Samannaya Mancha

106. Manoj Bhattacharya, RSP

107. Masood Akhtar

108. Mazdoor Kranti Parishad

109. Megha Unwer, Professor, Purdue University, Italy

110. Mitra Sengupta

111. Moinak Biswas, Professor, Jadavpur University

112. Nagarik Udyog

113. National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), West Bengal

114. New Democratic Students’ Front

115. New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI)

116. Nikhil Banga Mahila Sangha

117. Nilanjan Dutta, Writer, Filmmaker, Human Rights Activist

118. Nisha Biswas, Activist

119. Nitish Roy, Singer

120. Nivedita Menon, Professor, JNU

121. Nupur Basu, Bachik Shilpi

122. Pamela Philipose, Journalist

123. Partha Chatterjee, Professor, Columbia University

124. Partha S Banerjee, Writer & Retired Journalist

125. Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity

126. Paschim Banga Ganasanskriti Parishad

127. People’s Film Collective

128. People’s Study Circle

129. Persecuted Prisoners’ Solidarity Committee

130. Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Emeritus, JNU

131. Pradip Chatterjee, Activist

132. Prakriti Sebasram Sangha

133. Pramod Gupta, Social Activist

134. Pranab Kanti Basu, Professor (Retd), Vishva-Bharati

135. Prantajan

136. Pratip Nag, Activist

137. Progressive Democratic Students’ Federation (PDSF)

138. Progressive Plantation Workers’ Union

139. Progressive Students’ Union (PSU)

140. Progressive Youth League (PYL)

141. Purbasha Auddy, Jadavpur University

142. Purulia Bauri Samaj Kalyan Samiti

143. Rajashri Dasgupta, Social Activist

144. Ranjana Padhi, WSS

145. Ranjit Sur, Human Rights Activist

146. Ratan Khasnabis, Former Professor, Calcutta University

147. Ravi Pallur, Political Activist

148. Revolutionary Cultural Forum

149. Revolutionary Youth and Students’ Federation

150. Revolutionary Youth Federation of India (RYFI)

151. Revolutionary Youth Front (RYF)

152. Right to Food & Work Campaign, West Bengal

153. Rimi B Chatterjee, Professor, Jadavpur University

154. Ritam Bhaumik, INRIA, Paris

155. Ritam Palit, Student Activist

156. Romar Correa, Professor, University of Mumbai

157. Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Actor

158. Sabyasachi Chatterjee

159. Sabyasachi Deb, Poet

160. Sachetana

161. Sahaman

162. Sailendra Nath Bhattacharya, ECL Colliery Sramik Union

163. Sajni Mukherjee, Professor, Jadavpur University

164. Samantak Das, Professor, Jadavpur University

165. Samar Bagchi, Science, Education, Environment & Social Activist

166. Sampradayikota o Fascibad Birodhi Ganatantrik Mancha

167. Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party (India)

168. Sanjay Kak, Filmmaker

169. Sanjeeb Mukherjee, Calcutta University

170. Saswata Ghosh, Professor, Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata

171. Satya Sagar, Journalist

172. Dr SC Byne, Gana Adhikar Mancha, Durgapur

173. Shakti Pada Badyakar, SC-ST-OBC & Minority Employees’ Federation, Durgapur

174. Dr Sharmistha Dutta Gupta, Independent Researcher

175. Shramajibi Swasthya Udyog

176. Shamim Ahmed, Writer

177. Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Delhi

178. Shukla Bhowmick

179. Sipra Mukherjee, Professor, Jadavpur University

180. Sitansusekhar, Na Hanya Te

181. Soma Marik, Associate Professor, RKSM Vivekananda Vidya Bhavan

182. Dr Soumya Sahin, Asst Professor, National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS)

183. Souvik Mukhopadhyay

184. Sramajibi Mahila Samiti

185. Srikanta Mohanty, CPI (M-L), Odisha

186. Students for Change

187. Subhasis Bandyopadhyay, Associate Professor, IIEST, Shibpur

188. Sugata Ray

189. Sukanta Chaudhuri, Professor Emeritus, Jadavpur University

190. Sukumar Muralidharan, Journalist and Journalism Instructor

191. Sumit Sarkar, Historian

192. Sumit, Filmmaker, Writer

193. Sunandan Chakraborty

194. Supriya Chaudhuri, Professor Emeritus, Jadavpur University

195. Sushanta Mukherjee, Activist

196. Sushil Khanna, Professor (Retd), Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC)

197. Sushovan Dhar, Trade Union Activist

198. Susmit Bose, Singer-Composer, Activist

199. Suvrat Raju, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Bengaluru

200. Swastha Siksha Nirman

201. Tanika Sarkar, Historian, Professor (Retd), JNU

202. Tarun Bhartiya, Imagemaker & Union Activist, Shillong

203. Tobu Banglar Mukh

204. Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI)

205. Tuhin Maparu

206. Umar Awais, United Forum for National Integrity (Rajabazar Shireen Bagh)

207. UTUC

208. Vandana Misra, Civil Liberties Activist

209. Vanessa Chisti, OP Jindal Global University

210. Women Against Sexual Violence & State Repression (WSS)

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