K Satyanarayana and KV Kurmanath appeared before the National Investigative Agency (NIA) in Mumbai, as summoned, on September 9, at 10:15 am.
K. Satyanarayana is an Associate Professor at the Department of Cultural Studies at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. He is a distinguished scholar and one of the most prominent academics of Dalit and anti-caste studies in India. K.V. Kurmanath is a senior journalist based in Hyderabad.
Both of them have been harassed for their relationship with Varavara Rao (they are married to his daughters), who is currently incarcerated in connection with the Bhima Koregaon and Elgar Parishad case. Their homes were raided in a suspicious and unlawful manner in 2018, along with Rao’s home.
K. Satyanarayana has spoken about the casteist ill-treatment he faced during the raid, along with the fact that the police had no grounds to raid his home. The police’s attempt to delegitimize, isolate, stigmatize and criminalize a vocal anti-caste scholar by harassing him in his own home in his own university campus, he said, was no doubt an attack on the creation of Dalit knowledge.
In Mumbai, the NIA recorded oral statements from them about the material seized from their flats in 2018, which they had said included books on progressive topics, personal belongings, and even academic manuscripts. K Satyanarayana and KV Kurmanath answered all the queries, and were at the office for nearly 11 hours, after which they were allowed to return to Hyderabad. Both of them have maintained throughout that they have no connection with Bhima Koregaon whatsoever, and they reiterated that to the NIA on September 9.
In a statement released today, they wrote,
“Though we both travelled alone to Mumbai, we never felt alone at any moment. We imagined many people waiting outside the building for us. We could hear statements of solidarity, messages, and protests by artists, academics, activists, journalists, students and democratic voices from all over the world. This solidarity gave us moral support and strength at this moment of crisis. It was reassuring.
The strident voices of dissent in this country and the world have rekindled our hope that the ruthless dismantling of democratic values, Constitutional guarantees, and rule of law in this country will NOT be allowed.”
Thanking all their well-wishers, including students, scholars, and media, they assured their continued participation in protecting dissent and democracy in the country.