HYDERABAD: Days after Amnesty International came out in support of Prof GN Saibaba for commutation of his sentence and immediate release, unrestricted access to medical among the other demands, a student group Azad Mann organised a discussion on ‘Democracy behind bars — A case study of Prof GN Saibaba’, at Lamakaan on Thursday. Speaking at the event, Prof Haragopal, an activist who has been actively associated with the Committee for the Defence and Release of GN Saibaba, said that punishing Prof Saibaba for his conviction was not right as every person has a right to his ideology.
‘As a part of a University faculty, he is supposed to have conviction otherwise what would he teach his students? This is why if a society is in crisis, it will look up to the academics. But this culture is dying too, thanks to the government,” he said. The professor rued that ‘universities are becoming playgrounds of the government’ which is resulting in subversion of Universities.
“If educational institution feel that they are being watched all the time and their activities are on the radar, how will they come up with creativity and what will students learn from such faculty?” Speaking about the Delhi University where Prof Saibaba taught before he, along with five others, were convinced for alleg-edly having links with and possessing Maoist literature, he said that it was once a vibrant varsity where today everyone is harassed.
“This is a fight for his conviction and values and if he comes out of the jail and continues to hold on to them, it will be a victory for us. Your freedom is linked to Saibaba’s freedom,” he said. Besides meeting people, Prof Haragopal along with other members of Committee for the Defence and Release of GN Saibaba, has been mobilising public support. A critique of Saibaba’s conviction judgment is being circulated. “We have only two options — fight in courts and build public opinion. The latter is time taking process but it creates pressure on the government,” he said and added: “we are hopeful.”