Arupjyoti Saikia is a professor of history in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Guwahati Credit: File image

Guwahati: A group of 42 eminent scholars and academics, including historian Ramachandra Guha, wrote to the National Investigative Agency (NIA) on Sunday expressing concern about the summoning and questioning of IIT Guwahati (IIT-G) Professor Arupjyoti Saikia on Saturday.

Saikia, a professor of history in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT G, was summoned by NIA in relation to a case against Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leader Akhil Gogoi, who was arrested last year under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

He was called on Saturday “by NIA as a witness under section 160 of CrPC”, confirmed Saikia’s lawyer, Santanu Borthakur. He was at the NIA Sonapur office for 2-2.5 hours on Saturday. “Now [on Monday], he is at the NIA office, his statement is being recorded,” added Saikia’s lawyer.

Meanwhile, the letter to NIA said, “Professor Saikia is an adornment to the literary and intellectual world of Assam and of India. He is also an individual of high moral character; gentle, soft-spoken, and utterly non-violent. His devotion to his students at IIT Guwahati is exemplary.”

Expressing shock, the letter said, “That a scholar of such standing, and a human being of such decency, has been called for intensive grilling by the NIA 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 statement added.

“Professor Saikia has been called as a witness by the NIA in relation to the violence during the agitation on December 11 in Guwahati,” confirmed Assam DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, without commenting further, reported

On December 11 last year, after Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 was passed, violent protests took place. Days after the protest, state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed that the government had electronic evidence that a leading academician had played a major role in the protests against citizenship law. At least five people were killed during the agitation in Assam.

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