Dr. Partho Sarathi Ray is a reputed scientist who after graduating from Presidency College, Kolkata joined the MS-PhD program of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. He received the best thesis award from his Department at IISc, Bangalore. Subsequently, he did post-doctoral research work at the Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic in U.S.A. Since 2008, Partho has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at IISER Kolkata. He is a brilliant young scientist, well known in the international scientific community and has won several national and international awards. His work has been published in reputed international journals including “Nature” and “Cell”. He is a recipient of the prestigious “Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance” Intermediate Fellowship and is an Associate of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore. He is also an excellent and very popular teacher as well as a valued colleague.
Partho's 'mistake' has been that he has refused to limit himself to his research, and has tried out to reach out to humanity in a more direct way. He is a dedicated human rights activist - always being on the side of the downtrodden and the exploited, and has never backed away in the face of establishment pressure tactics. In keeping with this, he has been deeply disturbed by the rather ironical decision of the Bengal Govt to evict slum dwellers of Nonadanga for land acquisition towards building 'permanent housing' for those below the poverty line, without considering rehabilitation for those already living in the slums of that area! Subsequently, Partho was arrested on 8th Arpil 2012 from a peaceful demonstration for the Nonadanga victims (read more at Sanhati.com) held near Ruby Hospital, Kolkata. With several charges related to incidents that occurred on 4th April 2012 at Nonadanga brought against him by the police, Partho was denied bail by the magistrate on the 12th, in spite of the fact that his defense team presented concrete evidence for him being present at IISER-Kolkata on the 4th. IISER-K is located in Mohanpur, which is a good 70 km away from Nonadanga, so there is absolutely no way that he could have been present at Nonadanga on the 4th at 12:15 pm (the time of the incidents as per the police reports), while being in his office at 12 noon and in a meeting at the institute at 2:30 pm. What is scary is that now the police has added section 120 B of the Indian penal code to the existing list of ridiculous charges, and this means that he is being charged for conspiracy against the government, and of course, the onus is on him to prove himself innocent.
We strongly condemn the arrest and continued detention of Dr. Partho Sarathi Ray. He is a scientist of high repute, who has made his mark in the international arena, and this incident is a loss of face for the country in front of the international academic community. Distinguished academicians from all over the world have begun to show their support for Partho, and word about his case is spreading fast in the academic circles. We request you to intervene and ensure his immediate release and speedy acquittal.
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