On August 3, Dr Apoorvanand, a professor of Hindi at the Delhi University and a prolific writer whose articles have appeared in several print and online publications, was summoned for questioning by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in connection with the violence that broke out in North East Delhi in February 2020.
In a statement issued the following day, Dr Apoorvanand said, “On Monday, August 3, 2020, I was asked by the Special Cell, Delhi Police, to appear before it in the investigation into FIR no 59/20 related to the violence that happened in NE Delhi in February, 2020. I spent five hours there. The Delhi Police also considered it necessary to seize my phone for the purpose of investigation.”
The professor has raised concerns about the investigation vis-à-vis harassment of peaceful protesters even as the alleged perpetrators of the actual violence actually go scot free. He said, “While cooperating and respecting the right of police authorities to conduct a full, fair and thorough investigation, one can only hope that the probe would focus on the real instigators and perpetrators of the violence against a peaceful citizens’ protest and the people of Northeast Delhi. It should not lead to further harassment and victimization of the protestors and their supporters, who asserted their democratic rights through constitutional means, while stating their dissent to the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) and the decision of the GOI to operationalise the National Population Register (NPR) and the National register of Citizens (NRC), all over the country.”
He added, “It is disturbing to see a theory emerging which treats the supporters of the protestors as the source of violence. I would urge the police and expect their probe to be thorough, just and fair so that truth prevails.”
A respected intellectual and member of civil society, Dr Apoorvanand came under the scanner for his vocal condemnation of CAA-NRC-NPR, and his support to several known dissenters, most notably Umar Khalid who Apoorvanand once referred to as his son. Dr Apoorvanand has also consistently called out the regime’s attempts to spread hate and misinformation.
Investigations into the North East Delhi violence have failed to identify the actual perpetrators of violence, despite multiple independent fact-finding reports unearthing several disturbing facts, especially those pertaining to information about the alleged religious and political affiliation of these perpetrators of violence. The only action taken is against known dissenters and activists. Several of them have been questioned if not arrested on trumped up charges, the key allegation against them being that of instigating the violence. The latest act, of what is increasingly being seen as institutional violence against dissenters, took place on Sunday when the National Investigation Authority (NIA) raided the home of another Delhi University professor Hany Babu.