Ram Puniyani gets threatening calls, FIR lodged

Noted academic Ram Punyani received threatening calls warning him to stop conducting workshops and lectures propagating communal harmony

Professor Ram Puniyani.
Professor Ram Puniyani.

Nachiketa Desai

Noted academic and civil rights activist Ram Punyani has received threat calls and abuses from unidentified callers at night on his residential phone line on the night of Thursday (June 6) following which he has filed an FIR with the Mumbai police.

Ram Punyani, a former professor at IIT-Bombay, is a well-known rationalist who has been conducting workshops and lectures all across the country to propagate communal harmony.

This was the second time that Punyani received threats. In March, policemen in plain clothes had visited his residence on the pretext of making inquiries regarding his passport he had never applied for. Such inquiries are usually conducted by policemen in uniform. He has submitted CCTV footage of these plainclothes men.

On last Thursday, he got a call on his landline at about 8.30 pm which was received by his brother-in-law. The caller was abusive and aggressive and kept alleging that Punyani was anti-Hindu. The caller threatened that Punyani must stop his activities or face consequences. The caller said Punyani must leave Mumbai in 15 days.

Five minutes later, there was another call which Punyani received. Once again, using a very menacing tone, the caller demanded to know if he was speaking to Punyani. When Punyani declined, the caller hung up. But this time the caller’s number could be identified.

“This is extremely concerning and disturbing. My family is worried about my safety. I hope the authorities take this seriously. This is not the first time that I have faced such intimidation,” Punyani said.

The threat becomes all the more grave in view of the murders of other rationalists like Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar, Gauri Lankesh and M.M. Kalburgi by right wing assassins.

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