Update 17/4/2012: Partho was released on bail today. The case remains.
UPDATE 16 April 2012: The case is beginning to appear in the mainstream media. One hopes the PM, a former academic himself, takes some interest. Also, see this blog post on Nature. That writer has previously been impressed with Dr Ray’s sense of social responsibility.
Also there is now an official site for justice for Partho.
UPDATE 14 April 2012: Here’s a letter in support of Dr Ray from Prof Mriganka Sur, FRS, an eminent neuroscientist at MIT.
UPDATE 13 April 2012: Apparently Dr Ray and the other activists were not produced in court yesterday, but were sent to jail for 14 days in absentia. [Update 2: According to ToI, the magistrate asked for the defence but was told they had left the building. The magistrate turned down police remand, instead putting the activists in jail custody: one hopes that is a positive sign.]
If Dr Ray is lying about his activities on April 4, then his colleagues at IISER Kolkata — among the brightest scientists in India — are lying too. The government can either let the scientific community be tarnished in this way, or it can step in right now and have these activists released. I’m not sure what the scientific community can do other than make a noise, but a sufficiently loud noise may work: I hope that the seniormost scientists — at the IISERs, at IISc (Dr Ray’s alma mater), at Wellcome-DBT (where Dr Ray is currently a fellow), at the Indian Academy of Sciences (where Dr Ray is an associate), and elsewhere — will make their voices heard to the powers that be.
I received the following from a colleague and trusted friend in Kolkata.
To forestall possible criticisms:
- You may or may not agree with Sanhati’s philosophy or goals, but that has nothing to do with it. Dr Ray was arrested at a peaceful protest, and subsequently detained on trumped-up charges relating to a day when he was provably elsewhere. This is not meant to handle law-and-order: it is to scare and silence dissenting voices.
- Of course Dr Ray, and the others arrested with him, are not the first to fall victim to the police state in this manner. Many innocent people are languishing in jail under the “war on Maoism” and they are not less deserving of justice than Dr Ray. My hope is that by highlighting the absurdity of the charges against Dr Ray, the entire machinery will come under a fresh scanner.