Mumbai, June 7 (IANS) The Mumbai Police has launched a probe into threats and intimidation to noted scholar and anti-communalism crusader, Dr Ram Puniyani, activist groups said on Friday.
A delegation of various civil society groups called on Joint Police Commissioner Vinay Choubey and apprised him of the threats to the 73-year old Puniyani.
Choubey has directed Deputy Commissioner of Police Sangramsingh Nishandar to launch investigation into the matter.
Condemning the threats to Puniyani, various civil society groups and members said the police must take it up seriously as there have been killings of rationalists like Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.
Besides, many writers, journalists, RTI activists, artistes, lawyers and civil activists have been facing attacks from right-wing forces.
On Thursday (June 6), Puniyani was abused and threatened on the phone and ordered “to stop his activities and leave within 15 days, or else.”
Earlier, on March 9, three unknown persons visited his residence in Powai on the pretext of making enquiries of his passport application, though he had not made any such application.
The unidentified men made enquiries about Puniyani and his family, his past affiliation with IIT-Bombay and left afterwards, following which Puniyani lodged a complaint with the Powai police station.
However, there was reportedly no action into the complaint nor a serious attempt made to trace and identify the visitors, although the CCTV footage and other details were provided to the police.
Today, he filed another police complaint on yesterday’s intimidating phone calls and followed it up by meeting Joint CP Choubey along with a delegation of civil society activists.
Choubey has assured proper investigations and measures for Puniyani’s personal security.
The delegation members informed Choubey that “these repeated threats pose great risk and danger to Dr. Puniyani, who has been a strong secular voice and crusader for communal harmony.”
Born in Nagpur, Puniyani is a medico and also served as a professor at IIT-B, but became a full-time secular activist after the demolition of the Babri mosque.