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Man charged with attacking anti-abortion group’s Madison offices earned a doctorate at UW-Madison

Hridindu Roychowdhury, who was arrested in Boston in connection with the 2022 attack on the Wisconsin Family Action building, is no longer affiliated with the university

The words "If abortions aren't safe then you aren't either" were painted in black on the building of the Wisconsin Family Action's offices in Madison
The words “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” were painted in black on the building of the Wisconsin Family Action’s offices in Madison. Shawn Johnson/WPR

The person arrested Tuesday in connection with a 2022 attack on an anti-abortion group’s building received a doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but is no longer affiliated with the school, administrators confirmed Wednesday.

Screenshots of Hridindu Roychowdhury’s affiliation with a lab at the university were spread on social media following his arrest by federal authorities in Boston.

Roychowdhury, 29, was a Ph.D. student at UW-Madison from 2016 to 2022, a university spokesperson said Wednesday. He worked in a biomolecular engineering lab during his time there and received his doctoral degree in biochemistry last spring.

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“He is no longer affiliated” with UW-Madison, the spokesperson wrote in an email to Wisconsin Public Radio.

The head of the university laboratory where Roychowdhury worked as a research assistant during his student tenure did not respond to a request for comment.

Roychowdhury now lists the Madison-based biotech firm Promega as his current employer on LinkedIn. That company would not confirm whether he is a current or former employee.

The alleged attack on the Wisconsin Family Action offices in Madison took place in May 2022. Roychowdhury was arrested on Tuesday at Boston’s Logan International Airport, where he was set to fly to Guatemala, according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office. He has been charged in federal court with one count of attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive, and is due for an initial hearing on Thursday.

Authorities reportedly linked him to DNA found in a partially-eaten burrito.

Wisconsin Family Action declined to comment on the arrest.

On May 6, 2022, a person alleged to be Roychowdhury threw two Molotov cocktails into the headquarters of Wisconsin Family Action in Madison. One did not ignite, and the other set a fire. Nobody was in the office at the time.

Someone also spray-painted the words “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” on the side of the building.

A group calling itself “Jane’s Revenge” reportedly took responsibility for the attack on the building last year, and said it was a “warning.” It is unclear whether Roychowdhury is affiliated with that or any other group.

The alleged attack came days after a draft decision leaked from the U.S. Supreme Court, suggesting that the federal Roe vs. Wade decision — which made abortion a protected medical procedure across the United States — was about to be overturned.

The following month, that’s exactly what happened. Anti-abortion activists welcomed the decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization as a victory they’d worked for decades to achieve. Pro-abortion activists mourned the decision as a significant loss for women, and launched protest movements across the country.

Wisconsin was one of several states where an immediate ban on abortion went into effect following that decision.