The Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) on Saturday wrote to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking protection for activist Ram Puniyani and his family, a day after the Mumbai Police initiated a probe into threats issued to him.
In a letter to the NHRC, the CJP said that on Thursday, Puniyani, a well-known rationalist and former IIT-Bombay professor, was abused over the phone and threatened with dire consequences if he didn't stop his "anti-Hindu activities and leave within 15 days".
Puniyani and a delegation of several civil society groups and activists on Friday met Joint Commissioner of Police Vinay Choubey and apprised him of the development. Choubey assured Puniyani's personal security and directed Deputy Commissioner of Police Sangramsingh Nishandar to launch a probe into the matter.
"Given his persistent and relentless campaign for rationalist thought, a syncretic understanding of history - with lectures and workshops held all over India - these threats can only be seen as serious," the CJP said in its letter to NHRC Chairman H.L. Dattu.
According to the letter, many writers, journalists, RTI activists, artistes, lawyers and civil activists have been facing attacks from right-wing forces and rationalists like Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh have even been killed.
The letter said this wasn't even the first time Puniyani was threatened. Earlier Puniyani lodged a complaint with Powai Police Station on March 9 after three unknown persons visited his residence on the pretext of making enquiries about his passport application, though he had not made any such application.
Even though CCTV footage and other details were provided to the police the last time, no action was taken into the complaint nor any serious attempts made to trace or identify the strange visitors, said the letter.