Letter to scientists on Partho Sarothi Ray

Update 17/4/2012: Partho was released on bail today. The case remains.

Below is a letter to Indian scientists from Dibyendu Nandi, one of India’s top astrophysicists, recent winner of the Karen Harvey prize, and colleague, at IISER Kolkata, of Partha Sarothi Ray.  Needless to say, I endorse every word and am repeating it verbatim with his permission.

Fellow Scientists,

I am writing to you as an individual and in my personal capacity of having known you. You are perhaps, by now, aware of the plight of Partho Sarothi Ray — a faculty at IISER Kolkata, whom I consider to be one of our most talented scientists. Partho was picked up by the police for a peaceful demonstration against the eviction of slum dwellers in Kolkata and is still in judicial custody. I would like to bring to your attention that a website detailing the case of Partho has been set up by some of us and is available at:


Personally for me, it has been difficult to come to terms with this case; however, I have come to realize that whether we completely support Partho’s activities beyond academics, or not, is not the point. What is important is that there has been a miscarriage of justice to one of our fellow scientists; somebody who has never compromised on his science and his teaching at our Institute.

I encourage you to peruse the material in the website, including the many news stories and testimonials about Partho that are in the public domain and make an independent assessment. Based on this, I also request you to consider giving Partho’s case and this website wide publicity within your Institutes, Scientific Organizations, Academies and beyond and join the appeal for justice. If you would like to give a testimonial on behalf of Partho and are willing to have it hosted in a public domain, write to us at: forpartho@gmail.com.


The website linked in Dibyendu’s mail is the best source for updates on this case. Regarding Partho’s “activities beyond academics”, there are many of us who are disturbed at the systematic dispossession of the underprivileged that has taken place over decades in every part of the country (but especially in the so-called Naxal belt). I am full of admiration for those like Partho who find time to campaign for the victims without compromising their scientific activity (Partho’s publication record is as good as any I have seen in India). In this specific case, as Dibyendu says, there is a miscarriage of justice. But it is not accidental: it is a deliberate attempt to intimidate and silence someone who points out inconvenient truths.

Thanks to the persistence of Partho’s colleagues, the word is getting out, and several media outlets have by now covered this case, including Nature News which is read internationally. Today’s India Today article is also worth reading and describes Partho’s motivations and personality.

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  1. moloy goswami

     /  April 18, 2012

    been acquainted with partho in his PhD days-i am shocked and saddened. i admire his courage to take a stance. are we really now surprised with prevalence of high discontent and resultant anti-government activities? when state law and judiciary fail to deliver justice and in fact abuse the system to subvert basic human dignity-voice will be raised. i fully support partho in his efforts, treat his incarceration a concocted sickness of mindless government and urge the “authorities” to release him before the whole thing blows up on their faces.

  2. Could you message me with some hints & tips about how you made this blog site look this cool , Id be appreciative!


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