Six student activists were booked on Wednesday for unlawfully protesting at the Faculty of Arts, Delhi University (DU). The activists arrested are from the University of Delhi and were not following the laid down guidelines of social distancing while holding demonstrations.These student activists were demanding the release of Professor Hany Babu.
Hany Babu Musaliyarveettil Tharayil is a 54-year old associate professor of English at DU. He was arrested on July 28 by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Mumbai. He was allegedly involved in the violence of the Elgar Parishad case. Hany Babu is to remain in judicial custody till August 21 as his remand duration with the NIA ended on August 8.
Students’ Federation of India (SFI) along with several other progressive organisations, demanded that Professor Hany Babu be released as he had been falsely accused. However, the peaceful protest was disrupted by the Delhi Police. SFI stated that the Delhi Police was infringing upon the democratic right of the students to protest.
The police, in their statement said that due to the pandemic, mass protests are not allowed. That is why the prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure have been implemented. This is the reason, they said, that they tried to stop the (10-12) students who had gathered on Wednesday afternoon at the Arts Faculty.
The police also mentioned that in spite of these restrictions and several requests by them, the students went on to carry the protest. As a result, the students had to be detained in violation of section 144. In addition to that, a case has also been filed under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code and the Epidemic Disease Act against the student activists arrested.