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NIA Quizzes IIT-Guwahati Prof Again over Violence during Anti-CAA Protest, Scholars Express Concern

The speaker, however, rejected two notices to discuss in the House the government's alleged high-handed approach in tackling anti-CAA protests in the state.

The speaker, however, rejected two notices to discuss in the House the government's alleged high-handed approach in tackling anti-CAA protests in the state.

Arupjyoti Saikia, a professor of history at IIT-Guwahati, was summoned to the NIA office at Sonapur on the outskirts of the city on Saturday, when he was asked to appear again before the sleuths of the agency on Monday.

Guwahati: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday quizzed IIT-Guwahati Professor Arupjyoti Saikia for the second time in three days in connection with the violence in the city over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December last year. The agency summoned him again for questioning on Tuesday.

Saikia, a professor of history at the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati, was summoned to the NIA office at Sonapur on the outskirts of the city on Saturday, when he was asked to appear again before the sleuths of the agency on Monday. An NIA official confirmed that Saikia was interrogated during the day.

"Today (Monday), he (Saikia) was questioned for about four hours. NIA is questioning him as a witness to Akhil Gogoi's case. He has been asked to appear again at 11am tomorrow (Tuesday)," said Saikia's advocate Santanu Borthakur.

The NIA has already arrested around half a dozen senior leaders, including Akhil Gogoi, of peasant body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and its sister organisations for their alleged role in massive violence during the anti-CAA protests across the state in December last year.

Earlier in December, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that the state government has evidence that a leading academician working at a central educational institute was monitoring the "entire exercise" of violence on December 11 and 12 in protest against the Act.

"That Assamese academician gave three statements — a revolution has started, all you senior leaders disappear and now enter through the Janata Bhavan (Secretariat) gate," Sarma had said at a press conference on December 17.

Based on the evidence, it was found that the academician was giving instructions from a control room, he had said.

Meanwhile, 42 eminent scholars, including Ramachandra Guha, Sukanta Chaudhuri, Partha Chatterjee, Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Nivedita Menon expressed concerns over the issue and the "ordeal that Saikia is going through".

"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.

"That a scholar of such standing, and a human being of such decency, has been called for intensive grilling by the National Investigation Agency 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 issued by the academicians said.

Saikia has done extensive research on the history and nature of the Brahmaputra and has penned several books on the mighty river.