'Punished for Being Varavara Rao's Son-In-Law': EFLU Professor Satyanarayana

The professor's wife was apparently questioned by the police about her caste and why she did not wear a 'sindhoor' or was not dressed like a 'traditional wife'.

New Delhi: Asserting he was punished for being Varavara Rao’s son-in-law K. Satyanarayana – an EFLU professor whose house was also raided as part of a nationwide swoop by Pune police against activists – rejected the charges against him. The police have implicated the professor in either the Bhima-Koregaon protest or the alleged plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Satyanarayana, who heads the cultural studies department at English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad, said the police presented documents in Marathi to him – a language he neither speaks nor understands. They next proceeded to search his house. Addressing EFLU students on Wednesday, the cultural studies professor said the police eventually told him that they expected to find Rao at his residence. Once it was evident that he was not there, they nevertheless went ahead with interrogating him as well as searching his house.

“They asked me why I had books of Mao and Marx. Why I had songs of Gaddar,” he said. Asking him why he had photos of Jyotirao Phule and B.R. Ambedkar, the police told him, “Why do you want to be an intellectual? Why can’t you be happy with money you are getting?”

The professor said that his “anti-Hindutva” and “anti-Modi” politics was well known, and that such personal beliefs do not make him a criminal. “I am on the side of Marxists. On the side of feminists, Dalits and students,” he said.

Satyanarayana said passwords of his laptop, email IDs, Dropbox account were forcefully taken. His hard-drives, pendrives and laptop, apart from his daughter’s laptop, were seized by the police. “I have lost 20 years of my work. For me to get back to teaching, it will take at least six months. I was preparing a new course, I’ve lost all the material,” he said.

According to an Indian Express report, K. Pavana, Satyanarayana’s wife, was also questioned by the police. “Your husband is a Dalit, so he does not follow any tradition. But you are a Brahmin, so why are you not wearing any jewellery or sindoor? Why are you not dressed like a traditional wife? Does the daughter have to be like the father [Varavara Rao] too?’”

“My own identity as a reputed professor in a reputed university was brushed aside. They made me feel like a criminal, hiding something in the house,” said Satyanarayana.

On allegations regarding his involvement in the Bhima Koregaon protest, he said, “I’ve been here in Hyderabad. Where is Bhima Koregaon? How am I connected to it?”

An Indian Express report said Pune Joint Commissioner of Police Shivaji Bodkhe denied that these questions were asked by his police team. He said, “These are completely false allegations. No such questions were asked. The raids were conducted as per procedure.”