Newly Exonerated Political Prisoner Dr G N Saibaba’s Allies In Delhi University Demand His Reinstatement At Teaching Post

Mumbai, March 13, 2024: As former political prisoner Dr G N Saibaba undergoes medical treatment after being acquitted in a Maoist links case, the academic community at Delhi University has said that it will continue to fight for his reinstatement at the university’s Ram Lal Anand College, where he worked as an assistant professor in the English department until his termination from the post in 2021.

Dr Saibaba, who was acquitted after spending 10 years in prison, had last week addressed journalists and stated his wish to get his job back. Reiterating his request, he told The Hindu on Wednesday that he “hoped” the university would take action.

“I am currently undergoing treatment and focusing on my health. However, I hope the university does something. My colleagues are fighting for my reinstatement and taking the matter forward,” he said.

Dr Saibaba was suspended from his teaching position at Delhi University’s Ram Lal Anand College in 2014 after being arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for having alleged links to the Communist Party of India (Maoist). In 2021, he was terminated from service.

Meanwhile, DU officials said that they have not yet taken any steps to reinstate Dr Saibaba, since they have not received directions or a written request regarding the same from any court.

“There are no talks of a reinstatement as yet as there are no such directions from the court, nor have we received any written request. As and when we receive something, we will review it and take necessary action,” an official said.

A faculty member from Delhi University’s Ram Lal Anand College, who did not wish to be named, said, “Now that he has been acquitted and the grounds for termination have disappeared, he should be reinstated. The college will only be able to initiate the reinstatement if directions come from the university or the court.”

The college principal, however, did not respond to The Hindu’s questions about the reinstatement.

Former Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) chief Nandita Narain, who is also part of the Committee for the Defense and Release of Dr G N Saibaba, said that the defense panel will soon write to Delhi University’s vice-chancellor and the college authorities, and will attach a copy of the Supreme Court judgement that recently refused to stay the Bombay High Court order acquitting Dr Saibaba.

“Now that he has been acquitted, he should be reinstated given that he was terminated on the grounds of being implicated in the case. In fact, he should not have been terminated at all during an ongoing court case,” she said.

On Sunday, the defense panel, comprising academics, lawyers and politicians, issued a statement saying that Dr Saibaba should be reinstated to his teaching position with retrospective benefits and compensations.

Professors across departments and universities have issued statements in support of Dr Saibaba’s acquittal, and have demanded his reinstatement. On Tuesday, a statement by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) read, “The JNUTA also demands that Professor G.N. Saibaba be immediately reinstated in his position as a faculty at Ram Lal Anand College, University of Delhi and be compensated for the years of service he lost without any further delay.”

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