India: Academician and activist Ram Puniyani harassed
April 1, 2019, 11:08 am
Academician and activist Ram Puniyani has said three policemen, claiming to be from the Maharashtra Crime Investigation Department (CID), visited his Mumbai home under the pretext of passport verification and tried to obtain information about him and his family.
However, a top official on Tuesday denied that any such “inquiry” was conducted by the CID. “Why will CID conduct any inquiry when we don’t have any case pertaining to Mr. Puniyani?” he asked. He said some police personnel, not from the CID, might have visited Mr. Puniyani’s residence claiming to be from the department.
Mr. Puniyani, 73, used to teach Biomedical Engineering at IIT Bombay. He regularly conducts seminars and workshops on themes like threat of communal politics to democratic society, human rights and so on. The author of several books, he is the recipient of the Indira Gandhi Award (2006) and the National Communal Harmony Award (2007) for his contribution to national integration.
Mr. Puniyani said that the police personnel, in mufti entered his flat in Powai on the 11th floor around 2.30 p.m., claiming they were from the local police station. They told him and his wife that they had come for verification of passport application. However, the Puniyanis have not applied for any passport.
“My wife questioned their real motive, saying we have not applied for any passport. When she asked them whether they are from the CID, they nodded in agreement and tried to show us their identity cards,” Mr. Puniyani said, but he did not check their identity.
He said the trio questioned him about the location of his wife’s clinic and his children’s careers.
“They also asked me and my wife why I gave up my career with IIT Bombay. They also wanted to know what my children are doing, and where are they settled,” he said.
Mr. Puniyani said, initially, he didn’t take the trio seriously. “But they again inquired about us from servants at the ground floor of the building,” he said.
He further said the trio didn’t try to intimidate him and his wife, and behaved well. “However, the motive behind the visit definitely worries us. They wanted to locate us it seems,” he said.