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NIA Questions IIT Guwahati Professor Involved in Anti-CAA Protests

Saikia was reportedly asked about his telephone calls to KMSS activists during the protests.

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency, according to a Hindu report, questioned IIT Guwahati teacher Arupjyoti Saikia for over four hours.

It is being suspected that he was summoned due to his involvement in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, said reports.

Saikia teaches history at IIT Guwahati and was questioned at an NIA office on the outskirts of Guwahati.

The NIA has taken a dim view of the statewide demonstrations against the CAA in Assam. In the middle of the protests, it arrested farmers’ leader Akhil Gogoi and three other leaders of his organisation, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti. The case for which Gogoi was held dates back to 2019.

Saikia was reportedly asked about his telephone calls to KMSS activists during the protests, reported Northeast Now.

Saikia is a renowned scholar and the author of The Unquiet River: A Biography of the Brahmaputra. He has written four other books on the particular cultural and agrarian history of the region.

In December, state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had claimed that his government had evidence that a major academic had played an important role in the protests against the citizenship law, reported the portal.

Sarma had said the academic was involved in a conspiracy to orchestrate the burning of Assam Secretariat at the Dispur capital complex.

IIT Guwahati’s electrical and electronics engineering professor Brijesh Kumar Rai was recently in the news after the institute’s board of governors ordered him on January 1 to vacate his residential quarters by the end of the month, and leave on ‘compulsory retirement’ on grounds of alleged misconduct. Rai had alleged corruption and nepotism at the institute. A senior official had also lodged an FIR against him for alleged intimidation.

Scholars release statement in protest

Eminent scholars of India’s top universities have released a statement in support of Saikia, and condemning his harassment in the hands of the NIA.

“That a scholar of such standing, and a human being of such decency, has been called for intensive grilling by the National Investigative Agency is deeply distressing. We urge that the NIA treat him with the dignity and respect he deserves, and allow him to continue his professional work unimpeded,” the professors write.

Among signatories are Ramachandra Guha, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Sukanta Chaudhuri, Supriya Chaudhuri, Nandini Sundar, Partha Chatterjee, Niraja Gopal Jayal and many others.

Statement on Arupjyoti Saikia by The Wire on Scribd