THEMES

‘Stand by JNU!’ Solidarity Statements from across the world
March 25, 2016
‘Stand by JNU!’ Solidarity Statements from across the world
A campaign launched by the university’s students and teachers challenging the intolerance of dissent


 
Continuing their efforts to seek the release of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested on charges of sedition, some students and teachers of JNU have launched a ‘Stand with JNU’ campaign on social media. The campaign has its own Facebook page and Twitter handle.

As part of the campaign, a group of teachers will start taking classes on “nationalism”. The campaign “stands for the nationalism of Mahatma Gandhi, B R Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh”. 

Support for the campaign has been pouring in people from across the country as well as from abroad.

‘Stand by JNU’ proposes live streaming the proposed lectures on nationalism, uploading its videos on Youtube and share info on its Facebook page and Twitter handle, with the hashtag Stand with JNU.

Sabrang will keep its viewers updated on the latest on the campaign.
 
Campaign: Mumbai College Students Stand with JNU
Students from Colleges in Mumbai start an online petition to stand with their JNU counterparts. 

Sign the Petition here: Stand with JNU

We, the students of Mumbai extend our support to and express solidarity with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), who are under systematic attack from the Delhi Police and certain sections of the media. We disagree with the slogans raised by a small section of people on the JNU campus, during a protest and do not identify or sympathise with those who provoke violence against the people of India and the state. However, the manner in which the Government has dealt with this situation is alarming and distressing.

The JNU Student Union President Kanhaiya Kumar has been arrested by the police under charges of sedition. From all videos and eye witness accounts that have surfaced after the protest, it is clear that Kanhaiya Kumar was not part of the group chanting the slogans and can be called a bystander or observer at best. A video of his speech has emerged where he makes it clear that he was not supporting that particular group of protestors and in fact asserts his faith in the Constitution of India.

Keeping this is mind, we must ask: what is the formal pretext under which he has been arrested? We do not believe it is acceptable for a police force to enter a University, which is intended to be a forum for debate and discussion, and arrest a student leader and lock him up in jail even though he has not broken any law. The media has been imploring the Delhi Police Commissioner to release evidence that suggests Kanhaiya Kumar raised slogans along with the group of protestors concerned. The police has so far not released any evidence against Kanhaiya. He has been charged under the Sedition law, which cannot be applied to anyone unless there has been incitement of violence against the state, and Kanhaiya has done anything but that. The arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional arrest of a student from a University seems to be a gross misuse of political power to stifle opinions that differ from those of the ruling establishment.

The larger problem is the way sections of the media and the Government are using this episode to tarnish JNU as a whole with one brush, calling it a 'den of anti-nationals'. This kind of irresponsible rhetoric that maligns an educational institution of the country, is unfair and appears to serve a political narrative that does not tolerate dissenting voices. The assault of JNU students, staff and journalists by lawyers and BJP MLA OP Sharma outside Patiala House Court has only proved how those associated with the University are being victimized by those in the ruling dispensation. The refusal of the police to take action against the culprits of the Patiala House attack, and the determination to keep Kanhaiya behind bars, sends out a disturbing message to students across India : If you do not toe the line of the Government, a pretext will be found to punish you. This environment is not at all conducive for any educational institution.

We appeal to the conscience of the Prime Minister and request him to end this farce being enacted in JNU and release Kanhaiya Kumar. There is a problem with the slogans that were raised by some students of JNU and it needs to be addressed with the sensitivity it deserves and after sufficient thought has gone into it. Knee-jerk reactions like arresting a student leader can never be the solution.

This is a petition to the Government of India from a collection of students from Mumbai colleges. The chief petitioners are students of a Mumbai college and can be contacted at [email protected]

Only college students from Mumbai should sign this petition. Your identity will not be revealed if you so wish.
A Solidarity Poem for JNU from the Incarcerated Community of Philadelphia
A solidarity poem for Kanhaiya and the JNU protestors from the Center for Carceral Communities (a collective of current and previously incarcerated people and advocates in Philadelphia, housed at the University of Pennsylvania, USA).
 
we are with you kanhaiya
reaching out from our barred windows
all 2.5 million of US
we cross borders and seas
to smuggle in
wirecutters and metalfiles
and circuitbreakers
hidden deep
in these words and
outraged tears
we are with you
as you dance on this
multiheaded serpent
this global picture-in-picture-in-picture
of progress-in-democracy-in-prison-in-silence-in-fear
with you
shoulder to shoulder
as you scream over and over
abvpISobamaISbushISmodi
hand-in-hand with you
dear kanhaiya
as you christen
this revolution
with blood and urine
spilt in these corridors
of power
slick with the froth
of hindutva
with you always
as you stare down
this justice
turned
slippery and slick
and cold
until it is just / ice
 
Signed:
 
mouth
Alison Neff (Director, CCC)
Toorjo Ghose (Associate Professor, SP2, UPenn)
35 members of the CCC collective (who need to remain anonymous)
on behalf of
2.5 million who are currently incarcerated in the U.S. (who are forced to remain anonymous)
 
Consolidated Solidarity Statements in Support of JNU

We are consolidating the statements received in the past few days in the following post. The institutions/groups are as follows in order of date received, starting from February 24, 2016: 
 
We Stand With JNU
Johns Hopkins Stands With JNU
 
Duke University Stands With JNU
Duke University Stands With JNU
  1. Teachers at Delhi University

  2. Professional Staff Congress, the City University of New York faculty and staff union (PSC-CUNY)

  3. Pinjra Tod, Delhi.

  4. Academics, Students, Writers, Academics and Activists from Australia.

  5. U.S Community Organisations.

  6. Students and Faculty at Johns Hopkins University, U.S.

  7. Academicians in Gujarat

  8. Students at Cornell University, U.S.

  9. South Asian Communities at Tufts and Harvard Universities, U.S

  10. Students, Faculty and Other Workers at Duke University, U.S.

  11. Mumbai students.

Please click on “read more” for the statements and signatories:
 
  1. Delhi University Teachers in Solidarity with JNU: 
We, the undersigned teachers of Delhi University, extend our solidarity with the students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University. We unequivocally condemn the police action on campus following the events of February 9, 2016, the lodging of an FIR and the arbitrary arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on grounds of sedition, and the subsequent attack on him and other citizens within the precincts of the Patiala House courts in the presence of large numbers of police personnel. JNU has had a long tradition of nurturing a culture of politically engaged debate. We believe that the attack on JNU is a part of a larger campaign by the state to undermine the autonomy of university campuses as spaces where all kinds of ideas and opinions, no matter how sensitive, provocative and potentially controversial, can be freely aired, critiqued and openly discussed without fear of reprisal. It is essential for institutions of higher education to foster critical thinking that engages with social and political issues. We have seen similar attacks in other spaces – our own campus and in places like the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) where we witnessed the tragic death of the scholar and activist, Rohith Vemula. The assault on JNU, coming as it does in the wake of the cutbacks in public funding for higher education, is a clear indication that the state is intent on instrumentalising patriotic sentiments for purposes of imposing an anti-constitutional, homogenized, exclusivist nationalism. In this particularly worrying manner, it seeks to stifle all dissent on campuses and in society at large, while moving simultaneously towards dismantling and destroying meaningful public education in India,. Further, the law on sedition, a colonial era provision in the Indian Penal Code, has no place in a modern democracy. The increasing harassment and persecution by the police, of Kashmiri students, their families, and others, including teachers from Delhi University who have been branded as ‘anti national’, is unconscionable and unconstitutional. In this context, the irresponsible behaviour of some sections of the media that have incited violence with the circulation of misinformation and doctored videos is reprehensible.. We demand the release of Kanhaiya Kumar and the dropping of all charges against the students of JNU, especially the malicious and unfounded targeting of another student, Umar Khalid. As teachers and academics we ask that the autonomy of universities be nurtured so that they remain democratic spaces where debate and disagreement are upheld and respected as a critical, integral part of academic life. Signatories: 1. Mukul Mangalik, Ramjas College. 2. Prabhu Mohapatra, Department of History. 3. Anubhuti Maurya, Bharati College 4. Sunalini Kumar, LSR 5. Aparna Balachandran, Department of History 6. Shahana Bhattacharya, Kirorimal College 7. Satyajit Singh Professor Dept of Political Science 8. Rajni Palriwal, Department of Sociology 9. Ira Singh, Miranda House 10. Ratna Raman Associate Professor Sri Venkateswara College 11. Nayana Dasgupta, Lady Shri Ram College, university of Delhi 12. Saswati Sengupta, Miranda House 13. Vibha Maurya, Professor at Delhi University 14. Farhat Hasan, Department of History 15. Upinder Singh, Professor of History, University of Delhi 16. D. Manjit, Dyal Singh College 17. Debjani Sengupta, IP College 18. Nandini Sundar, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University 19. Ruchira Das, Institute of Home Economics, University of Delhi 20. Ankita Pandey, I.P. College 21. Naveen Gaur, Dyal Singh College (University of Delhi) 22. Suvritta Khatri, Deshbandhu College 23. Nalini Nayak, Assoc. Prof., (Retd), PGDAV (M) College 24. Parul Pandya Dhar, Department of History, University of Delhi 25. Rakesh Ranjan, SRCC, Delhi University 26. Sudha Vasan, DU 27. David Vumlallian Zou, Delhi Univeristy 28. Anita Cherian 29. Anirudh Deshpande, Department of History 30. Rekha Basu, Department of Philosophy, Hindu College 31. Manisha Choudhary, Department of History 32. Benston John, Department of Economics, St Stephen’s College 33. Shashi Saxena, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College 34. Chitra Joshi, I.P. College 35. Bilasini Naorem, Miranda House 36. Sanghamitra Misra, Department of History, University of Delhi 37. Apoorvanand, Department of Hindi 38. Rimjhim Sharma, DU 39. Bodh Prakash, Zakir Husain Delhi College 40. Sunil Kumar, Professor of History, Delhi University 41. Kesavan Veluthat, Department of History 42. Roopa Dhawan, Associate Professor, English Department, Ramjas College 43. P K Yasser Arafath, Department of History, University of Delhi 44. Sanjay Kumar, St. Stephen’s College 45. Seema Alavi, Department of History 46. Naina Dayal St Stephen’s College 47. Anshu Malhotra, Department of History 48. Anushka singh, assistant professor, gargi college 49. Deepika Tandon, Associate Professor, Miranda House, DU 50. Ranjana Das, Ramjas College 51. Nidhi Gulati, dept of El education, IHE 52. Sharmila Purkayastha. Miranda House 53. Tanya Roy, University of Delhi 54. Nandita Narain, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University 55. R. Geeta, Department of Botany 56. Nandini Chandra Department of English 57. Saikat Ghosh, SGTB Khalsa College 58. Rashmi Pant, Indraprastha Collge for Women, Delhi University. 59. Amrapali Basumatary, Kirori Mal College 60. Saumya Gupta, JDMC 61. Hari Sen, Ramjas College 62. Charu Gupta, Department of History 63. Vikas Gupta, Department of History, Faculty of Social Sciences, Delhi University. 64. Ruchita Machal – Miranda House 65. Rachna Singh , Assistant Professor, Department of History, Hindu College 66. Radhika Chopra, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Delhi 67. Sunita Narain, Associate professor 68. P K.Yasser Arafath,Department of History,University of Delhi 69. Archana Dixit, Bharati College 70. Tapan Basu, Department of English 71. Maitri Baruah, Hansraj College 72. Abha Dev Habib 73. Mihir Pandey, Ramjas College, University of Delhi 74. Rahul Govind, Department of History 75. Aditya Deo 76. Vishwa Mohan Jha, Dept of History, ARSD College, University of Delhi, New Delhi 110021 77. N Sukumar, Department of Political Science 78. Bharathi Jaganathan, Miranda House 79. Pragati Mohapatra, I P College.

2. PSC-CUNY
PSC-CUNY stands in solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, India, in their struggle against state repression of political speech. We condemn the arrest of JNU student union President, Kanhaiya Kumar, on charges of sedition and the expulsion of eight students by the university administration. The students are being persecuted by the Indian government and the university administration for participating in a rally protesting state policies and actions. It is a gross abuse of power for a democratic state to punish its citizens for exercising their right to political dissent. JNU is not a stand-alone incident; the recent attacks on students at other universities, like Jadavpur, and University of Hyderabad where it led to the tragic suicide of Dalit activist, Rohith Vemula, are part of a pattern of harassment and repression. We believe that the targeting of politically active youth at public universities reveals the broader program of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) to push its neoliberal attack on the poor, its discriminatory agenda against minorities, its promotion of a hawkish foreign policy, and its squelching of political dissent. We, at the City University of New York, and our fellow academics at universities throughout the USA appreciate the dangers of stifling academic freedom through our own destructive history. Our union is committed to fighting against class oppression, racism, and sexism, and to vigorously defend the right to political opposition. We join faculty and students from across the world – including University of Texas, Doctoral Students Council, CUNY, Purdue University, Williams College in the US, Canadian universities, University of Leuven, Belgium, University of Oxford, UK, Bangalore Research Network, Tata Institute of Social Sciences and University of Hyderabad in India – to express our solidarity with the students and faculty at JNU. We call upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately cease the pattern of persecution at universities. We also call on the Vice Chancellor of JNU to drop all punitive measures against the students engaged in protests, and to demand the immediate release of Kanhaiya Kumar.

2. Pinjra Tod Campaign, New Delhi
Pinjra Tod Mother India

An Adivasi school-teacher and human rights activist, Soni Sori was brutally attacked by a group of men last Sunday, her face blacked with grease. Soni now lies in a hospital in Delhi, her face mutilated and swollen, unable to open her eyes, but amazingly relentless and fearless about continuing her struggle against the atrocities perpetrated by the Indian state and mullti-national corporations against her people, the Adivasis of Bastar and Chattisgarh and their lands, rivers, forests and songs. In 2011, Soni had been arrested on charges of being a ‘Maoist’ by the Chattisgarh police and labelled an ‘anti-national’ under a host of fabricated cases. While in custody, Soni was subjected to brutal torture and assault. In a powerful letter addressed to the nation from jail, she had enquired in anger and desperation, “…by giving me current, by stripping me naked, or by brutally assaulting me – inserting stones in my rectum – will the problem of Naxalism end? Why so many atrocities on women? I want to know from all countrymen” The officer who led the torture on her, Ankit Garg, was awarded the Police Medal for Gallantry award.in 2012 for his ‘valour’, ‘courage’ and ‘self-sacrifice’ in service of the ‘nation’, in service of ‘Bharat mata’.

Soni Sori’s case is not an ‘exception’ or an ‘aberration’. Kawasi Hidme, an Adivasi from Bastar, once again charged as a ‘Naxal’, was repeatedly tortured and abused in custody, sent from one jail to another, after the policemen in a station had ‘satisfied’ themselves ‘enough’. This continued for seven years, as the ‘valiant’ actions of the protectors of the ‘nation’ led to Kawasi’s body ejecting her uterus one day. Bleeding profusely in unbearable pain, she pushed it back the first time and attempted to cut it off with a blade borrowed from another inmate the next time. Kawasi’s story came to light when Soni met her during her own time in jail. Hundreds of Sonis and Hidmes languish in prisons across the country. The women of Konan Poshpora, who were raped with impunity by soldiers of the Fourth Raj Rifles, the most senior rifle regiment of the Indian Army, more than 25 years back still await justice from the courts of law. The powerful protest of the Manipuri women who stripped naked defying the indefinite curfew imposed in Imphal, screaming “Indian Army rape us, kill us, take our flesh” after the rape and heinous murder of Thangjam Manorama, continues to disrupt our national pride from the ‘margins’ of this nation. The thousands of women who were raped during Partition, scream from the past, about the violence on women’s bodies that constitutes the very moment of inception of India as an ‘independent’ nation. This violence has been enacted over and over again in numerous moments across the history of this post-colonial nation, be it Emergency, the 1984 riots, the Godhra killings, the Gujarat riots, Operation Green Hunt, Kandhamal and Muzzafarnagar riots.

In a context of frenzy where everyone, from the right to the left, joins a race to assert who is the ‘true nationalist’ of them all, Soni’s blackened face, Manorama’s bullet-ridden dead body, Kawasi’s ejected uterus, begs us to ask the question: can the nation, any nation really ever belong to women? What is this nation built and held together (intergated?) by the rape and torture of women? Does the control, surveillance and violence on women’s lives, bodies and desires underlie the very core of what comes to constitute nationalism and the nation? Are masculine and patriarchal notions inherent to the imagination and construction of the nation? We have heard a lot about the contradiction that plays out when the sanghi brigade relentless threaten ‘mothers’ and ‘sisters’ with sexual abuse alongside exhaltations to ‘Bharat Mata’. However, a more crucial question that we need ask is: Why is India a mother, why is Bharat a Mata, why? Why this engendering of the nation? Does the imagery of the nation entrap women into pinjras where we are reduced to biological reproducers of its members (‘sons’); limited to ‘mothers’/’wives’/’sisters’ in need of protection; contained into cultural signifiers who are the markers and reproducers of cultural boundaries/differences; idolised into figures whose bravery is realised through self-sacrifice/erasure? In this gendered construction of the nation, the lives and experiences of Dalit, Adivasi and working class women are invisibilised, frowned upon and even, criminalised. As we critique the nationalist project of Hindutva, we need to interrogate if there can really be a truly inclusive nationalism or if the nation functions on creating an excluded ‘other’ vs-a-vis whom difference is established?

The violence of the nation on women does not lie only in so-called ‘exceptional’ incidents, it is enacted in the ‘everyday’, in the ‘mundane’, most often in our most initimate spaces and relations, in very insidious ways, beginning from our families and continuing to universities, workplaces and the society. The burden of the nation is a daily reality for every woman, manifesting in diverse forms in the numerous regulations and restrictions that bind and cage her, in the policing of her autonomy and freedom that she has to negotiate and resist, and even internalise, everyday. How many times have our families told us that we have been corrupted by ‘Western’ ideals when we have argued with them for our most basic rights, be it the right to venture out at night or the right to study/work as a woman or the right to love the one we desire (the list is endless)? When the Justice Verma Committee set up after the Jyoti Singh rape case had recommended criminalising marital rape, a parliamentary standing committee, headed by Venkaiah Naidu, dismissed the recommendation, claiming that if marital rape is brought under law, the very edifice of the great Indian family system will come crumbling down. Basically what this asserts is that marital rape is a necessity for the ‘Indian’ family and the institution of marriage to survive. We have all heard of the horror tales of shaming and humiliation from women who have approached the courts seeking justice against sexual violence, as they were tried and interrogated for not adhering to the ideal of what marks the ‘good’ Indian woman.

Haryana CM’s ex-OSD, Jwahar Yadav statement, “For the girls who are protesting in JNU, I only have one thing to say that prostitutes who sell their body are better than them because they atleast don’t sell their country”, leads us directly into the patriarchy and brahminism that lie at the very heart of nationalism, trapping us into binaries of the ‘good’ vs the ‘bad’ woman, of the ‘anti-national/Maoist’ vs nationalist woman, the respectable woman vs the women on the streets, the good student vs the ‘ungrateful daughter’. A woman who is a sex-worker whose labour disrupts the premises of Brahminical morality and family ‘values’, is to be shamed. An autonomous woman who thinks, who questions, who resists, who fights is a grave ‘national threat’ to this nation, especially so if you are an Adivasi or a Dalit or a Muslim or a working class woman who is speaking aloud. Such women defy the masculine and patriarchal script of nationalism produced by upper-caste men (dating back to the early nineteenth century!), that has been premised on silencing of women’s voices and experiences and entraping them in a swirl of pinjras of domesticity and alienation.
Your borders and boundaries will not stop the international solidarity and collectivisation of women, our imaginations dance wild like stardust, like the magic spells of witches.

4. Academics, Students, Writers, Academics and Activists from Australia.
As academics, students, writers, artists and activists from Australia, we condemn the use of oppressive power by the Indian state, its police, and Hindu fundamentalist groups to shut down voices of dissent emerging from within public universities in India. We join the international community in extending our support to the students, faculty and staff at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Hyderabad Central University (HCU) and many other public universities, who have been courageously protesting the overreach of state power and brutal stifling of dissent, carried out in the guise of majoritarian Hindu nationalism (Hindutva). Students at JNU and HCU have been targeted for opposing the death penalty awarded to Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon, convicted for “terrorism” by the Supreme Court of India. Students’ opposition to the death penalty – an act of violence carried out by the state to assert its sovereign might – has been manipulated by the state, university administrators, and irresponsible media reports, to be understood as their support for “terrorists”, and thus considered treasonous. The labelling of student activists as “anti-national” by invoking the draconian law on sedition (a legacy of British colonial rule), is a blatant attack on academic freedom. These attacks have been orchestrated by the BJP regime to strike fear among citizens who question its practices of anti-minority religious hate mongering and xenophobic propaganda. HCU student Rohith Vemula was suspended and driven to suicide because of the way the university administration and the state intimidated and threatened him. These attacks on students and free speech are not aberrations or sudden spurts of violence. Rather, they are part of a pattern of attacks on every idea and expression that does not pander to fascist Hindutva ideology. We deplore the attack on journalists, students, academics and activists by the lawyers at the Patiala House Court premises. The silence and inaction of the police in controlling this situation only testify to the state’s complicity in these events. We are appalled by the jingoistic and prejudiced reporting by some media channels to vilify JNU student activists Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid. We endorse the demands made by the protesting students, staff and faculty at JNU and HCU. We demand: a) the immediate release of the Kanhaiya Kumar, President of the JNU Student Union, and Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya; b) that the Bar Council of India enquiry into the attacks on journalists and protestors in Patiala House Court be carried out without political manipulation; c) that there should be no further intimidation and arrests of student activists for carrying out peaceful protests; d) the government must preserve the autonomy of universities and de-militarise campuses. We acknowledge that our solidarity is being extended from territory occupied by a settler colonial state. We also acknowledge that the Indigenous peoples who have not ceded their sovereignty, own this land. This acknowledgement is a necessary precondition for building transnational solidarity against governments – like those in India and Australia – that use democracy and national security as alibis for legitimising their everyday violence. Endorsed By: 1. Debolina Dutta, PhD Researcher and Lawyer, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne 2. Oishik Sircar, Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Researcher, Institute for International Law and the Humanities, Melbourne Law School 3. Samia Khatun, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of History, University of Melbourne 4. Shakira Hussein, Hon. Research Fellow, The University of Melbourne 5. Mridula Nath Chakraborty, Academic, Monash University 6. Irfan Ahmad, Associate Professor of Political Anthropology, ACU, Melbourne, Australia 7. Rajgopal Saikumar, PhD Candidate, The Australian National University 8. James Goodman, Associate Professor, University of Technology Sydney 9. Kama Maclean, Associate Professor, UNSW 10. Monique Hameed, Tutor, University of Melbourne 11. Jordy Silverstein, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Melbourne 12. Heather Goodall, Professor Emerita in History, University of Technology Sydney 13. Sukhmani Khorana, Lecturer, University of Wollongong 14. Dr Zeena Elton, Independent Researcher/Writer 15. Trish May, PhD student, UNSW 16. Maryam Alavi Nia, PhD Candidate, UNSW 17. Assa Doron, Academic , Australian National University 18. Meera Ashar, Lecturer (Assistant Professor), The Australian National University 19. Samanthi Gunawardana, Lecturer, Monash University 20. Josh Cullinan, Secretary, Australia Bangladesh Solidarity Network 21. Dr Lionel Bopage, Retired Public Servant, n/a 22. Neeti Aryal Khanal, PhD candidate, Monash University 23. Erin Watson-Lynn, Lecturer, Monash University 24. Roanna Gonsalves, Writer and academic, UNSW 25. Michelle de Kretser, Writer, University of Sydney 26. Dr Ruth De Souza, Stream Leader, Research, Policy and Evaluation, , Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health 27. Hannah Courtney, PhD Candidate, UNSW 28. Dr Danny Butt, Lecturer, Centre for Cultural Partnerships, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne 29. John Zubrzycki, PhD Candidate, University of New South Wales 30. Ben Spies-Butcher, Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University, Australia 31. Camilla Palmer, Postgraduate Researcher, University of New South Wales 32. Brenda Dobia, Senior Lecturer, Western Sydney University 33. Coel Kirkby, Postdoctoral Fellow, Melbourne Law School 34. Elizabeth King, Student, UNSW 35. Rajpaul Sandhu, Teaching, ACS 36. David Feith, Subject Coordinator, Humanities, Monash College 37. Wimal Jayakody, Member of PHRE 38. Steve Pereira , Community Engagement, Melbourne University 39. Anura, Real Estate Sales, PHRE 40. Sithy Marikar, Vice President – AGGSl, Australian Labor Party 41. S. R. Sivasubramaniam, Engineer 42. Padraic Gibson, Senior Researcher, Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, University of Technology Sydney 43. Vandana Ram, Artist 44. Victoria Baldwin, Administrator 45. Robin Jeffrey, Retired Academic 46. Nadia Rhook, Lecturer, Latrobe University 47. Mohamed Masood, President, Werribee Islamic Centre 48. Anthony P. D’Costa, Chair and Professor of Contemporary Indian Studies, University of Melbourne 49. Yamini Narayanan, ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, Deakin University 50. Monimalika Sengupta, PhD Candidate, Monash University 51. Parichay Patra, Doctoral Candidate, Monash University, Australia 52. Lucy Honan, Teacher, Australian Education Union Councillor 53. Arka Chattopadhyay, PhD student, University of Western Sydney 54. Rev.Dato’ Dr.Sumana Siri, Buddhist Cardinal of Europe, Buddhist Realists’ Movement, U.K.,Italy & France 55. Kalpana Ram, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Macquarie University 56. Dr Sagar Sanyal, Adjunct lecturer, University of Melbourne 57. Piergiorgio Moro, Secretary, Australia Asia Worker Links 58. Beth Sometimes, Researcher, VCA, Melbourne University 59. Russell Smith, Lecturer, Australian National University 60. Anuparna Mukherjee, Ph.D. Researcher, ANU 61. Amy Thomas, PhD Candidate, University of Technology, Sydney 62. Shak Sandhu, Restaurant Manager 63. Stephen Church, Doctoral Student/Casual Lecturer & Tutor, University of New South Wales 64. Angela Smith, Researcher, North Africa Mixed Migration Task Force 65. Balraj Sangha, Justice Of The Peace, Australian Labor Party 66. Emma Torzillo, Medical Doctor, University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney 67. Anne Brewster, Associate Professor, UNSW 68. Lalitha Chelliah, Nurse, 3 CR Broadcaster; Socialist Alliance member 69. Max Kaiser, PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne 70. Dr Amanda Gilbertson, McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Melbourne 71. Faisal Al-Asaad, Graduate Research, University of Melbourne 72. Jerome Small, Industrial Organiser, Socialist Alternative 73. Milo Adler-Gillies, Student, Paris 8 74. Priya Chacko, Lecturer, University of Adelaide 75. Vivien Seyler, Administrative Officer, South Asian Studies Association of Australia 76. Bina Fernandez, Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne 77. Ghassan Hage, Professor, University of Melbourne 78. Maria Elander, Lecturer in Criminology, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne 79. Edward Mussawir, Lecturer, Griffith University 80. Julia Lomas, PhD Candidate, Art History And Theory, Monash University 81. Chris Andrews, Associate Professor, Western Sydney University 82. Ben Silverstein, Lecturer, UNSW 83. Alexandra Watkins, Academic, Deakin University 84. Isabella Ofner, Researcher and Lecturer, The University of Melbourne 85. Bina D’Costa, Academic, Department of International Relations, The Australian National University 86. Shweta Kishore, Teaching Associate, Monash University 87. Léuli Eshraghi, PhD Candidate, Monash University 88. Dr. Ridwanul Hoque, Visiting Scholar at La Trobe Law School, La Trobe University 89. Kristen Smith, Medical Anthropologist, University of Melbourne 90. Joan Nestle, Independent Writer 91. Adrian McNeil, Senior Lecturer, Monash University 92. Parakrama Niriella, Theatre and Film Director, National Federation of Theatre Artists Sri Lanka 93. Cait Storr, Sessional lecturer and PhD candidate, Melbourne Law School 94. Greg Bailey, Hon. Research Fellow in Asian Studies (Sanskrit), La Trobe University 95. Ian Woolford, Lecturer, La Trobe University 96. Michael Stevenson, Retired 97. Dolly Kikon, Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, University of Melbourne 98. Jasmine Ali, Researcher, RMIT University 99. Dr Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, Senior Fellow, Resource, Environment & Development Program, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University 100. Alison Young, Professor, University of Melbourne 101. Usha Natarajan, Law Professor, American University in Cairo 102. Ekta Sharma, Poet & Activist 103. Rose Parfitt, Research Fellow, Melbourne Law School 104. Suzette Mayr, PhD Student, University of New South Wales 105. Leigh Hopkinson, Writer 106. Amy Parish, PhD Candidate, UNSW 107. Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, Lecturer in International Studies, Deakin University 108. Audrey Yue, Associate Professor, The University of Melbourne.

5. U.S Community Organisations.
SOLIDARITY WITH INDIA STRUGGLE IS GLOBAL & ONGOING: We are community, student and legal activists in the United States fighting racialized and Islamaphobic state repression and the continuing assault of neoliberalism in our universities, workplaces and communities. As we watch India’s students and activists mobilize in mass for the right to dissent in the face of state sanctioned violence and relentless harassment we realize the many ways in which our struggles are interconnected. We send strong messages of solidarity to all students, workers, communities and human rights defenders throughout India struggling against an increasingly repressive right-wing nationalist and neoliberal regime. We salute Rohith Vemula , the Dalit scholar & poetic writer whose brave act ignited new and important waves of protest throughout India. Rohith reminded many of the Tunisian street vendor who five years ago took his own life in protest of state and economic violence, igniting calls for “Bread, Freedom, Social Justice and Human Dignity.” Rohith’s life and words remind us of the importance of supporting the resistance of women, men and other genders against caste apartheid, global apartheid and all systematic racism. We honor the Ambedkarite movement for its immense contribution to these struggles. We salute Umar Khalid & his fellow student organizers who have consistently stood up for the rights of vulnerable & oppressed people including victims of anti-terrorism laws and victims of militarized policies such as operation green hunt and the ongoing occupation of Kashmir. We applaud the efforts of those students who have reminded the world of the brutal occupation of Kashmir and the illegal execution of Afzal Guru an act used to criminalize these students. We are horrified to hear of the killings of Shaista Hameed & Danish Farooq , young university students gunned down by government forces in Kashmir the day before the Modi regime started its attacks against #JNU. Where is justice for these students? We stand in solidarity with student leader Kanhaiya Kumar. He has faced cruel violence during his detention. We applaud every student, lawyer and journalist who have supported Kanhaiya in the face of attacks. We fully condemn the recent acid attack on tribal rights activist & teacher Soni Sori in Bastar, Chhattisgarh. For her efforts to bring justice to local peoples she has long been the target of the State. There are many facing similar violence. We have increasingly heard reports of journalists and human rights defenders attacked and expelled from Chhattisgarh under police pressure. We know such actions are a meant to hide the immense abuses taking place in this State by the regime. We salute all who continue to risk their lives in exposing this truth. We condemn the brutal and Islamophobic lynching of Mohammad Aklaq in Dadri this past fall. Such blatant attacks as Dadri are inspired by the right-wing nationalism of the the ruling party, sanctioned by the both the inaction and actions of the State. We continue to organize global acts of solidarity with India’s Workers in all sectors who are struggling in various ways for their right to organize and for their basic dignity. Workers have been met with extraordinary violence and criminalization as a result, including the brutal attacks on thousands of protesting Honda workers Haryana last week. We add our support for the call to free the unfairly accused workers of Maruti Suzuki in Haryana and the imprisoned workers of Pricol in Tamil Nadu. We salute countless students like Umar in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and allover who have consistently shown their solidarity with the global movement to free Palestine. We understand that as the BJP led regime strengthens relations with Israel such solidarity increases the vulnerability of students. We salute your bravery. In our work and activism in the U.S. and globally we will continue to educate ourselves and support the important political, economic and social struggles taking place in India and South Asia. This support begins here. We will not tolerate U.S. normalization with the repressive Modi regime, just as we challenge their relationships with the oppressive States of Israel and Egypt and others. The struggle is global. We offer our full support and solidarity as you fight for: • Justice for Rohith Vemula, through the resignation of VC Appa Rao and the passage of the Rohith Act in Universities to stop systemic oppression of Dalit students. • Dismantling Caste Apartheid. • Protection of the right of political dissent for all in India, U.S. and throughout the world. • An end to the demonization & threats of violence against Umar Khalid, his fellow student organizers & their families & and the removal of all ‘sedition’ charges against all students. • Release of JNU Student Kanhaiya Kumar, Cancellation of the FIR (Charging report) against Him, and accountability for the shameful attacks on Kanhaiya by lawyers and journalist while appearing in Court. • Release of Kashmiri intellectual, and Delhi University Professor Syed Abdur Rahman (SAR) Gilani on so-called “sedition charges”. • Justice for the deaths of Shaista Hameed & Danish Farooq. • Full demilitarization of Kashmir. • Justice for Soni Sori and an end to the attacks on of lawyers & journalists exposing human rights abuses in Chhattisgarh. • An end to the criminalization of organized Workers throughout the country. ENDORSING ORGANIZATIONS INCLUDE Al-Awda New York, Palestine Right to Return Coalition, http://al-awdany.org/ Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, http://samidoun.net/ Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, https://revolutionarystudents.wordpress.com/ New York Students for Justice in Palestine, https://nycsjp.wordpress.com/ American Muslims for Palestine, New York & New Jersey Chapters, https://www.facebook.com/AMPNY/ Muslim American Association, New York, https://www.facebook.com/MuslimAmericanSocietyNY/ National Lawyers Guild, International Committee, http://nlginternational.org/ Labor For Palestine, http://laborforpalestine.net/ International Action Center, http://www.iacenter.org/

6. Students and Faculty at Johns Hopkins University at Johns Hopkins University, U.S.
We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the students, staff and faculty of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi in their efforts to protect the freedom of expression, public engagement and dissent on campuses. We strongly condemn the undemocratic and unconstitutional actions of the front organizations of the ruling BJP government, including 1) police raids on student hostels 2) the arrest of the JNU student union president under an archaic and draconian ‘sedition’ law, and 3) violence against and intimidation of students and teachers in public spaces such as courts of law. We further condemn the circumvention of due process by the ensuing media trial, which attempts to frame JNU as a den of ‘anti-national activities’. We see these events as part of a larger attack on public higher education in India, as evinced in the slashing of funds, ideologically driven appointments to administrative posts, as well as the bullying and intimidation of students that led to the recent death of Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University. Furthermore, we see its connections with a growing climate of intolerance in the public sphere towards religious and sexual minorities, Dalits, rationalists/atheists, intellectuals and dissenters. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Kanhaiya Kumar, the president of the JNU Students Union. We also demand the release of others arrested under the antiquated sedition law, including Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and Professor S.A.R. Geelani. Finally, we demand an immediate stop to the harassment and intimidation of other students, and the withdrawal of the police from the JNU campus. We are committed to democratic debate and engagement in the public sphere, and to the protection of universities as autonomous spaces where diverse and opposing views can be expressed, debated and discussed in an atmosphere free from threats and intimidation. Just as we at Johns Hopkins have been challenged to think about the university’s engagement with civil society and politics, we uphold the role of JNU and other universities as places that enable critique and conversations toward a more equitable and just society. We commend the courage and resilience of our colleagues in JNU who stand their ground against the attacks on the culture of academic freedom in India. Burge Abiral, Department of Anthropology Elmirasadat Alihosseini, Department of Anthropology Samantha Agarwal, Department of Sociology Ghazal Asif, Department of Anthropology Rishi Awatramani, Department of Sociology Swayam Bagaria, Department of Anthropology Mariam Banahi, Department of Anthropology Sara Berry, Department of History (retired) Hester Betlem, Department of Anthropology (2012) Caroline Block, Department of Anthropology Andrew Brandel, Department of Anthropology Linda Braun, Department of History Hannah Bunkin, Anthropology Sruti Chaganti, Department of Anthropology Valentina Dallona, Department of Sociology Andrez Dapuez, National Science Research Council Argentina Veena Das, Department of Anthropology Mitra Ebrahimi, Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering Serra Hakyemez, Department of Anthropology Fouad Halbouni, Department of Anthropology Clara Han, Department of Anthropology Salman Hasan, Department of Cell Biology, School of Medicine Gregoire Hervouet-Zeiber, Department of Anthropology Jenny Hubbard, Department of Anthropology Amrita Ibrahim, Department of Anthropology Naveeda Khan, Department of Anthropology Paul Kohlbry, Department of Anthropology Bridget Kustin, Department of Anthropology Amy Krauss, Department of Anthropology Michael Levien, Department of Sociology Manu Madhav, Mind/Brain Institute Neena Mahadev, (Anthropology 2013) Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany Paola Marrati, Humanities Center Misha Mintz-Roth, Department of History Kirsten Moore-Sheeley, Department of History of Medicine Juan Obarrio, Department of Anthropology Anand Pandian, Department of Anthropology Rashi Pant, Department of Cognitive Sciences Bican Polat, Department of Anthropology Deborah Poole, Department of Anthropology Maya Ratnam, Department of Anthropology Arpan Roy, Department of Anthropology Aditi Saraf, Department of Anthropology Vaibhav Saria, Department of Anthropology (2014) Erica Schoenberger, Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering Mac Skelton, Department of Anthropology Thomas Thornton, Department of Anthropology Rochelle Tobias, Department of German and Romance Languages Tulio Zille, Department of Political Science.

7. Academicians in Gujarat.
We, members of the academic community of Gujarat, are extremely disturbed by the recent events in Jawaharlal Nehru University and the developments thereafter. We feel worried about the emerging dangers against the right to dissent and freedom of speech. We believe that the disturbances in JNU including slogans against India could have been easily avoided without the moral policing by political forces. The demonstrations could have been patently handled by the vice chancellor – if necessary by setting up an internal committee to investigate. We firmly believe that the freedom of academic institutions is an essential condition for knowledge promotion and sharpening discourses, as academic institutions of higher learning are the embodiment of thought, science, creativity, knowledge and critique, and there cannot be an upfront limitation on their power to think and express. This freedom should not have been violated by the government or any outside forces. We are shocked to watch the behavior of the lawyers, who took the law in their hands and attacked students, teachers, journalists and even Supreme Court Panel members. Equally shocking was the behavior of the Delhi Police, who supported lawyers by watching it as mute spectators. The misuse of the sedition law and outright violence of lawyers worry us, as they signal a great danger to our human rights and democratic values. We demand impartial inquiry into the events that have taken place in JNU and in the Patiala House Court and punishment to the guilty when necessary. We want that the right to speech and the right to dissent are ensured to all citizens of our country. Nationalism evolves gradually with the progress in democracy and growth of egalitarian society; and we believe that its interpretation should not be left to political parties. At the same time, free discussion on nationalism particularly in academic institutes must be encouraged. Signed by: Members of academic community of Gujarat; Date: 22nd February, 2016 List of Academicians from Gujarat Sr.No. Des. Name and Surname Working Place Location 1 Prof. AKASH ACHARYA Center for Social Studies Surat 2 Dr. MUNISH ALAGH Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research Ahmedabad 3 Prof. DINESH AWASTHI Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research Ahmedabad 4 Prof. RAKESH BASANT Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad 5 Dr. GUARI BHARAT CEPT University Ahmedabad 6 Mr. ARUP LAL CHAKRABORTY Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar 7 Mr. ATANU CHATTERJEE Center For Development Alternatives Ahmedabad 8 Prof. KESHAB DAS Gujarat Institute of Development Research Ahmedabad 9 Ms. JIGNA DESAI CEPT University Ahmedabad 10 Prof. KIRAN DESAI Center for Social Studies Surat 11 Dr. RENU DESAI CEPT University Ahmedabad 12 Prof. ERROL D’SOUZA Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad 13 Dr. SWETA GARG Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology Gandhinagar 14 Dr. AMRITA GHATAK Gujarat Institute of Development Research Ahmedabad 15 Prof. SRUBABATI GOSWAMI Physical Research Laboratory Ahmedabad 16 Prof. INDIRA HIRWAY Center For Development Alternatives Ahmedabad 17 Prof. SUDARSHAN IYANGAR Ahmedabad 18 Prof. SADAN JHA Cetre For Social Studies Surat 19 Dr. KISHOR JOSE Central University, Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 20 Prof. SATYAKAM’ JOSHI Center for Social Studies Surat 21 Dr. RUTUL JOSHI CEPT University Ahmedabad 22 Prof. RITA KOTHARI Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar 23 Dr. PRIYA RANJAN KUMAR Central University Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 24 Dr. SHAILENDRA KUMAR Central University Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 25 Dr. RINA KUMARI Central University Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 26 Dr. SONY KUNJAPPAN Central University Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 27 Dr. DARSHINI MAHADEVIA CEPT University Ahmedabad 28 Prof. NITI MEHTA Ahmedabad 29 Dr. RUDRA MAVAYAN MISHRA Gujarat Institute of Development Research Ahmedabad 30 Dr. ATUL MISHRA Central University Gandhinagar Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 32 Dr AMISHAL MODI Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology Gandhinagar 33 Dr. SIBA SANKAR MOHANTY Central University Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 34 Mr. NAHAR MOHHAMED Central University Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 35 Prof. SEBASTIAN MORRIS Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad 36 Prof. TARA NAIR Gujarat Institute of Development Research Ahmedabad 37 Prof. R. PARTHASARATHY Gujarat Institute of Development Research Ahmedabad 38 Dr Arjun Patel Center for Social Studies Surat 39 Dr. JHARNA PATHAK Gujarat Institute of Development Research Ahmedabad 40 Dr. MINAL PATHAK CEPT University Ahmedabad 41 Dr. ITISHREE PATTNAIK Gujarat Institute of Development Research Ahmedabad 43 Prof. K. R. RAMANATHAN Physical Research Laboratory Ahmedabad 44 Prof. RAGHVAN RANGARAJAN Physical Research Laboratory Ahmedabad 45 Dr. ANIL KUMAR ROY CEPT University Ahmedabad 46 Prof. C N RAY CEPT University Ahmedabad 47 Dr. DHANANJAY RAI Central University Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 48 Dr. ADITI NATH SARKAR Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology Gandhinagar 49 Ms SHACHI SANGHAVI CEPT University Ahmedabad 50 Prof. AMITA SHAH Center For Development Alternatives Ahmedabad 51 Prof. GHANSHAYAM SHAH Center for Social and Development Study Ahmedabad 52 Ms. NEHA SHAH L J Institute of management Ahmedabad 53 Prof. SHRUTI SHARMA Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad 54 Prof. SUKHPAL SINGH Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad 55 Ms. MELISSA SMITH CEPT University Ahmedabad 56 Ms. POOJA SUSAN THOMAS Ahmedabad 57 Prof. JEEMOL UNNI Institute of Rural Management, Anand Anand 58 Prof. PURNIMA VERMA Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad 50 Dr. P K VISHWANATHAN Gujarat Institute of Development Research Ahmedabad 60 Dr. UMESH YADAV Central University Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 61 Dr HEMANT KUMAR Central University Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 62 Ms A ANUPAMA Central University Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 63 Dr KHAIKHOLEN HAOKIP Central University, Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 64 Dr BERYL ANAND Central University, Gandhinagar Gandhinagar 65 Dr TULIKA TRIPATHI Central University, Gandhinagar Gandhinagar

8. Members of Cornell University.
We, the undersigned members of Cornell University strongly condemn the arbitrary, unconstitutional, and anti-democratic actions which have been taken against the students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in India. We demand an immediate end to all police action on campus, a withdrawal of all frivolous charges against the President of the JNU Students’ Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, and an end to the campaign of harassment and intimidation against students at the university. That Kanhaiya Kumar is being held on account of sedition, a product of an archaic and colonial-era law (IPC 124A), is shocking and abhorrent. The existence and validity of this law in India has been called into question time and again. This incident reinforces the need to reconsider its continued existence in the Indian constitution. The agenda of the present Indian government to create a homogeneous discourse of nationalism that privileges an upper caste, Hindu, male worldview is particularly worrisome. There has been a pattern of marginalization and suppression of minority views and dissent. The deliberate targeting of Umar Khalid, and other students as ‘anti-national Muslim terrorists’ is in keeping with the agenda of the state to create and fight false enemies. This is a dangerous trend and completely antithetical to the democratic and secular ethos that India stands for. There has been an attempt to brand all students and faculty of JNU as anti-national. This is creating an environment of terror. People are getting arrested and beaten because they look like JNU students, and there is continuous presence of a violent mob at the JNU gates. There have been violent attacks on JNU faculty, reporters, and Kanhaiya Kumar inside the Patiala House court complex, not once but twice, with the police standing by as silent spectators. In addition, the sexual harassment of women protesters (both students and faculty) is repugnant and highly condemnable. We believe that universities are places of debate, discussion, and dissent for people belonging to various backgrounds and ideologies. This attack on the students of JNU is an attempt to stop any kind of political discourse and discussion in university campuses and among students in India. This is in line with a pattern of state repression that has been visible in other Indian campuses like the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), University of Hyderabad, and most recently in Jadavpur University. We stand in solidarity with the ongoing students’ movement in JNU to protect campus democracy, autonomy, and the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression. We admire the teacher-student solidarity in JNU in the the wake of these protests, and are inspired by it. We extend our wholehearted support to this struggle against state repression in academic spaces. 1. Debak Das, Government, Graduate 2. Reet Chaudhuri, Applied and Engineering Physics, Graduate 3. Andi Kao, ILR,Graduate 4. Shiuli Vanaja, Applied Economics, Graduate 5. Disha Mendhekar, City and Regional Planning, Graduate 6. Rumela Sen, Government, Graduate 7. Nidhi Mahajan, Anthropology, Faculty 8. Arwa Awan, History, Undergraduate 9. Yagna Nag Chowdhuri , Asian Studies, Graduate 10. Shivrang Setlur, History, Graduate 11. Jeff Mathias, Science and Technology Studies, Graduate 12. James Ingoldsby, English, Graduate 13. Geethika Dharmasinghe, Asian Studies, Graduate 14. Bhavya Paliwal, Applied Economics, Graduate 15. Shubha Bharadwaj, CIPA, Graduate 16. Shreya Bhardwaj, CIPA, Graduate 17. Pratiti Deb, Physics, Undergraduate 18. Kareem Hamdy, Applied & Engineering Physics Alumnus 19. Nazli Konya, Government, Graduate 20. Archishman Raju, Physics, Graduate 21. Tiffany Fotopoulos, Undergraduate 22. Charis Boke, Anthropology, Graduate 23. Jesse Goldberg, English, Graduate 24. Kevin Duong, Government, Graduate 25. Ti-Yen Lan, Physics, Graduate 26. Tripti Poddar, Public Administration, Graduate 27. Marc Kohlbry, Comparative Literature, Graduate 28. Alana Staiti, Science and Technology Studies, Graduate 29. Ed Quish, Government, Graduate 30. Paul Ahrens, ILR School, Graduate 31. Divya Sharma, Development Sociology, Graduate 32. Tanvi Rao, Applied Economics, Graduate 33. Michaela Brangan, English, Graduate 34. Sena Aydin, Anthropology, Graduate 35. Sam Whitehead, Physics, Graduate 36. Philip S Burnham, Physics, Graduate 37. Van Tran, Government, Graduate 38. Naoki Sakai, Asian Studies, Faculty 39. Tim Vasko, Government, Graduate 40. Jacob Swanson, Government, Graduate 41. Robert Lincoln Hines, Government, Graduate 42. Michael Jones-Correa, Government, Faculty 43. Mitul Dey Chowdhury, Physics, Undergraduate 44. Stephen Roblin, Government, Graduate 45. Kaitlin Emmanuel, South Asian Studies, Graduate 46. Hao Shi, Physics 47. James Sethna, Physics 48. Andre Keiji Kunigami, Asian Studies, Graduate 49. Natalie Nesvaderani, Anthropology, Graduate 50. Katherine Quinn, Physics 51. Pauliina Patana, Government, Graduate 52. Jose Sanchez-Gomez, Government 53. Nandini, CIPA, Graduate 54. Xavier Eddy, Industrial and Labor Relations, Undergraduate 55. Martijn Mos, GOVT, Graduate 56. Gargi Wable, Nutrition, Graduate 57. Youyi Zhang, Government, Graduate 58. Jimena Valdez, Government, Graduate 59. Brinda Kumar, History of Art, Alumna 60. Colin Chia, Government, Graduate 61. Elizabeth Acorn, Government,Graduate 62. Margaret Jodlowski, Applied Econ and Management,Graduate 63. Anne Raccuglia, Art, Graduate 64. Natasha Bissonauth, Art History, Graduate 65. Hayden Kantor, Anthropology, Graduate 66. Gustavo Quintero, Romance Studies, Graduate 67. Lara Fresko, History of Art and Visual Studies, Graduate 68. Iftikhar Dadi, History of Art, Faculty 69. Aye Min Thant, Asian Studies, Graduate 70. Stephanie Clark, AAP, Graduate 71. Whitney Taylor, Government, Graduate 72. Sadia Shirazi, History of Art and Visual Studies, Graduate 73. Prabudhya Bhattacharyya, Physics, Undergraduate 74. Sibyl Ashcraft-Holt, Classics, Undergraduate 75. Rebecca John, FGSS, Alumna 76. Ian MacCormack, Physics, Undergraduate 77. Christina Zhang, History, Alumna 78. Daniel Brinkerhoff Young, Philosophy, Alumna 79. Veronica Pillar, Physics, Graduate 80. Elliot Padgett, Applied and Engineering Physics, Graduate 81. Lea Bonnefoy, Physics, Alumna 82. Myne Okoukoni, Arts & Sciences, Alumna 83. David Holmberg, Anthropology, Faculty 84. Heidi Kaila, Economics, Visiting graduate student 85. Megan Holtz, Applied and Engineering Physics, Graduate 86. Manfred Elfstrom, Department of Government, Graduate 87. José C., Department of Anthropology, Graduate 88. James Siegel, Anthropology & Asian Studies, (retired) Faculty 89. Rebekah Ciribassi, Anthropology, Graduate 90. Tyler Takaro, Physics, Undergraduate 91. Joseph Wraga, Physics, Alumna 92. Farhana Ahmad, City and Regional Planning, Graduate 93. Brenna Mockler, Physics, Undergraduate 94. Anthony Santa Maria, Economics; Feminist gender and sexuality studies; Africana studies, Recent Graduate 95. Caroline Aust, Physics, Alumna 96. Chelsea Cole, Archaeology, Masters 97. Tom Davidson, Sociology, Graduate 98. Daniel Freund, Applied Mathematics, Graduate 99. Anurag Meshram, ILR, Masters 100. Janet Smith, DSOC, Graduate 101. Mel White, Engineering, Graduate 102. Rohini Jalan, ILR School (OB Dept), Graduate 103. Max McComb, History, Graduate 104. Natalie Hofmeister, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Graduate 105. Benjamin P Cohen, Biomedical Engineering, Graduate 106. Ewan Robinson, Development Sociology, Graduate 107. Airlia Shaffer, Physics, Alumna 108. Laura Menchaca Ruiz, Anthropology, Graduate 109. Valeria Dani, Romance Studies, Graduate 110. Brian Clarke, Science & Technology Studies, Graduate 111. Kelsey Utne, History, Graduate 112. Sarah Portway, Fiber Science and Apparel Design, Graduate 113. Lizabeth McKinney, ILR, Graduate 114. Kristie McAlpine, ILR Human Resource, Graduate 115. Molly Reed, History, Graduate 116. Vincent Burgess, Asian Studies, Graduate 117. Marcela Villarreal, Food Science, Graduate 118. Sara Keene, Development Sociology, Graduate 119. Asli Menesve, Art History, Graduate 120. Nicholas Huelster, Romance Studies, Graduate 121. Kurt A. Jordan, Anthropology & American Indian Studies, Faculty 122. Nick Krachler, Industrial and Labor Relations, Graduate 123. Amanda Denham, FSAD, Graduate 124. Vincent Hiscock, English, Graduate 125. Sahar Tavakoli, Science and Technology Studies, Graduate 126. Satya Mohanty, English, Faculty 127. Chris Hesslbein, Science and Technology Studies, Graduate 128. Durba Ghosh, History, Faculty 129. Robert Travers, History, Faculty 130. Anne Blackburn, Asian Studies, Faculty 131. Bronwen Bledsoe, South Asia, Faculty 132. Lucinda Ramberg, Anthropology, Faculty 133. Katryn Evinson, Romance Studies, Graduate 134. Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo, Science and Technology Studies, Graduate 135. Chris Hesselbein, STS, Graduate 136. Olivia Duell, English and Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Alumna 137. Ujani Chakraborty, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Graduate 138. Madhura Raghavan, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Graduate 139. Anaar Desai-Stephens, Music, Graduate Student Organizations: 1. Cornell Graduate Students United (Organizing and Steering Committees).

9. Members of the South Asian Community at Tufts and Harvard Universities, U.S.
As members of the South Asian communities at Tufts and Harvard, we stand in solidarity with the student protesters at Jawaharlal Nehru University against the unconstitutional detention of JNU Student Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and 7 other students on February 9th, as well as the subsequent illegal police action. These students have been charged with “sedition” for peacefully protesting India’s execution of Afzal Guru, an accused in the 2001 attack on Parliament, under an archaic, colonial law. We extend our solidarity to those who were beaten by law enforcement outside Patiala House District Court while voicing support for Kumar. We condemn the repression of progressive voices such as Umar Khalid and other students and faculty by the Hindu right-wing forces of the government. In a historic moment of dissent and political criticism, we are reminded that the engendering of Hindutva nationalism, religious communalism and conformity and other divisive, authoritarian ideologies propagated by the BJP government perpetuates state-sanctioned violence. This forced conformity to what is propagated by the Indian government as “nationalist”, is a deliberate silencing of political, intellectual and academic freedom (azaadi) and is an assault on the secular and democratic fabric of the nation. As students of South Asian and diasporic communities in the United States, we express our solidarity. We vehemently reject the baseless charges of sedition and the unwarranted police action that are a result of a jingoistic and bigoted concept of “nationalism”. We condemn the injustice taking place on JNU campus and stand in support of its brave students, faculty and all others who rise against the fascist behaviour of the Indian state. Signed, Tufts’ South Asian Political Action Committee (SAPAC) Tufts’ Association of South Asians (TASA) Harvard South Asian Association (SAA).

10. Students, Faculty and Other Workers at Duke University, U.S.
We, the undersigned students, faculty, and other workers at Duke University in Durham, NC, USA, condemn the violent suppression of students, faculty, and workers at Jawaharlal Nehru University who have simply called for the right to participate in democracy. When Kanhaiya Kumar, President of the JNU student union, was arrested on February 13th on sedition charges, students, faculty, and thinkers across the subcontinent and the diaspora knew that a colonial-era law that forbids dissent against the state had been enacted in the service of the authoritarian aims of the ruling BJP party. In total, five JNU students now face sedition charges for allegedly raising what the Delhi Police term ‘anti-national’ slogans during a protest event held to commemorate the state’s execution of Afzal Guru in 2013. The arrest of Kumar also reeks of caste prejudice, a subject also on the minds of students, faculty, and activists troubled by the recent death of Rohit Vemula, a Dalit activist and organizer, at the University of Hyderabad on January 17, 2016. This is in addition to widespread movements across Indian campuses to address issues of gender discrimination in student housing. The cracks in the façade of India’s famed democracy are becoming wider and more visible as the ruling government’s enforcement of Hindu nationalist ideology will seemingly stop at nothing to silence any dissent against the state. Students and faculty at JNU have courageously stood up in defense of the majority of people in today’s India who are excluded from national belonging, labeled as outsiders by way of being Muslim, Dalit, queer, Kashmiri (the list goes on and on). Journalists who have joined the student and faculty protesters were attacked on two consecutive days last week at the Patiala House court under the noses of the Delhi Police. The Delhi Police’s dubious charges of sedition rest on tweets from unverifiable Twitter handles. The Commissioner of Police has also made deeply troubling statements contravening jurisprudence about how it is up to JNU students to “prove their innocence.” The baseless accusations of anti-nationalism that are being charged by the ultra-nationalist ideologues are built upon a fantasy of an imaginary enemy. We stand in solidarity with all the people who are being viciously harassed, killed, or pushed to committing suicide for thinking differently. The right to speak freely and openly critique state policies was poison to the colonial state but is a necessity for a functioning democracy. We believe in the radical possibilities of criticism and the freedom to express discontent and dissatisfaction against ruling governments and national institutions, whether at JNU, in Kashmir or Manipur. The events unfolding in and around JNU are not an isolated case. They reflect a larger pattern of routinized state violence that has been deployed to stifle any dissenting body and voice. We support the protests in the spirit of international scholars’ solidarity. We believe in creating spaces that enable and generate an environment for fostering critical debate and engagement. We stand with students. 22 February 2016 Duke University Durham, NC USA 1. Jessica Namakkal, Faculty, International Comparative Studies and Women’s Studies 2. Anastasia Kārkliņa, PhD Student. Literature. 3. Jess Issacharoff, PhD Candidate, Literature 4. Kenneth Wissoker, Editorial Director, Duke University Press 5. Eli Meyerhoff, Faculty, Program in Education 6. Monica Huerta, Post Doc, Women’s Studies 7. Liliana Paredes, Faculty, Romance Studies 8. Sumathi Ramaswamy, Professor of History and Interim Chair, Department of History 9. Emily Stewart, Staff, Duke Human Rights [email protected] 10. Elizabeth Ault, Assistant Editor, Duke University Press 11. Patricia Bass, PhD candidate, Dept of Art, Art History and Visual Studies 12. Leela Prasad, Faculty, Religious Studies, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies 13. Tamar Shirinian, Ph.D. Candidate, Cultural Anthropology 14. Can, Phd Student, Cultural Anthropology 15. Aarthi Vadde, Faculty, English 16. James Chappel, Asst Prof, Dept of History 17. Savannah Lynn, student, psychology/women’s studies 18. Alena, Undergraduate, Public Policy 19. Amy Wang, Undergrad, Pratt School of Engineering 20. Zach Levine, PhD Candidate, Cultural Anthropology 21. Prasana Khatiwoda, MSc, Duke Global Health Institute 22. Kena Wani, Graduate Student, History Department 23. Sanjeev Dasgupta, Undergraduate Student, International Comparative Studies and Political Science 24. Michael Becker, Graduate Student, History Department 25. Brett McCarty, ThD Candidate, Duke Divinity School 26. Christie Lawrence, Undergraduate student, Sanford School of Public Polocy 27. Heather Gates, Graduate Student, History 28. Matt Whitt, Post-Doc, Thompson Writing Program 29. Anna Marie Keppel Benson, Student 30. Mani Rao, PhD candidate, Religious Studies 31. Carla Hung, PhD Candidate, Duke University 32. Brad Wood, PhD Candidate, History 33. Sydney Roberts, Undergraduate Student, Literature Department 34. Leo Ching, Faculty , Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 35. Jennifer Ansley, Faculty, Thompson Writing Program 36. Robin Kirk, Faculty, Duke Human Rights Center 37. Mario LaMothe, Post-doc, Women’s Studies 38. Ara Wilson , Associate Professor , Women’s Studies & Cultural Anthropology 39. kathi weeks, Faculty, Women’s Studies 40. Jessica Malitoris, PhD Candidate, Department of History 41. Samuel Bagg, PhD candidate, Political Science 42. Sucheta Mazumdar ,Associate Professor , Department of History 43. Vasant Kaiwar, Visiting Associate Professor, Department of History 44. Hillary Richards, graduate student, Duke Global Health Institute 45. Giulia Ricco , PhD candidate, Romance Studies 46. Rachel White, Duke Alumna, Trinity School of Arts and Sciences 47. Yasmine Singh, PhD Candidate, Religious Studies 48. Ashton Merck, PhD Student, History Department 49. Libby Dotson, undergraduate student , International Comparative Studies 50. Prahlad Krishnan, Undergraduate student, International Comparative Studies 51. Mark Olson, Faculty, Art, Art History, & Visual Studies 52. Abdul Kaakar, Master of International development fellow, Public Policy 53. Carolyn Yao, Undergraduate, Trinity/Dept. of Computer Science 54. Erick Aguilar Ramos, Undergraduate Student, Trinity College 55. Priscilla Wald, Professor, English and Women’s Studies 56. Suzanne Katzenstein, Research Scholar,The Kenan Institute for Ethics 57. Yael Lazar,PhD candidate, Graduate Program in Religion 58. Felicia Arriaga, PhD Candidate, Sociology 59. Jehangir Malegam, Faculty, History 60. Caroline Garriott, Doctoral Student, History 61. Michael Hardt, Professor, Literature Program 62. Ameem Lutfi, PhD Candidate, Anthropology 63. Jose Romero, PhD Candidate , Cultural Anthropology 64. Christina Tekie, PhD candidate, Cultural Anthropology 65. Robert L Reece, PhD Candidate, Sociology 66. Bennett D. Carpenter, PhD candidate, Literature.

11. Mumbai students extend support to JNU.
This is a petition to the Government of India from a collection of students from Mumbai colleges. The chief petitioners are students of a Mumbai college and can be contacted at [email protected]
We, the students of Mumbai extend our support to and express solidarity with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), who are under systematic attack from the Delhi Police and certain sections of the media. We do not endorse the slogans raised by a small group of people on the JNU campus, during a protest which marked the beginning of this entire episode. We certainly do not identify or sympathise with those who provoke violence against the people of India and the state. However, the manner in which the Government has dealt with this situation is alarming and distressing.
The JNU Student Union President Kanhaiya Kumar has been arrested by the police under charges of sedition. From all videos and eye witness accounts that have surfaced after the protest, it is clear that Kanhaiya Kumar was not part of the group chanting the slogans. A video of his speech has emerged where he makes it clear that he was not supporting that particular group of protestors and in fact asserts his faith in the Constitution of India.

Keeping this is mind, we must ask: what is the formal pretext under which he has been arrested? We do not believe it is acceptable for a police force to enter a University, which is intended to be a forum for debate and discussion, and arrest a student leader and lock him up in jail even though he has not broken any law. The media has been imploring the Delhi Police Commissioner to release evidence that suggests Kanhaiya Kumar raised slogans along with the group of protestors concerned. The police has so far not released any evidence against Kanhaiya. He has been charged under the Sedition law, which cannot be applied to anyone unless there has been incitement of violence against the state, and Kanhaiya has done anything but that. The arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional arrest of a student from a University seems to be a gross misuse of political power to stifle opinions that differ from those of the ruling establishment.

The larger problem is the way sections of the media and the Government are using this episode to tarnish JNU as a whole with one brush, calling it a ‘den of anti-nationals’. This kind of irresponsible rhetoric that maligns an educational institution of the country, is unfair and appears to serve a political narrative that does not tolerate dissenting voices. The assault of JNU students, staff and journalists by lawyers and BJP MLA OP Sharma outside Patiala House Court has only proved how those associated with the University are being victimized by those in the ruling dispensation. The refusal of the police to take action against the culprits of the Patiala House attack, and the determination to keep Kanhaiya behind bars, sends out a disturbing message to students across India : If you do not toe the line of the Government, a pretext will be found to punish you. This environment is not at all conducive for any educational institution.

We appeal to the conscience of the Prime Minister and request him to end this farce being enacted in JNU and release Kanhaiya Kumar. There is a problem with the slogans that were raised by some students of JNU and it needs to be addressed with the sensitivity it deserves and after sufficient thought has gone into it. Knee-jerk reactions like arresting a student leader can never be the solution.
 
JNU teachers slam Bar Council report that justifies the Patiala House attack
A joint statement by several faculty members challenges the “patently false” report of the Bar Council of India



Full text of the statement by the Jawaharal Nehru University faculty

In a shockingly partisan statement that blatantly misrepresents events, the Bar Council of India has issued a report that justifies the well documented attacks by a mob of lawyers on Jawaharlal Nehru University students, teachers and media at Patiala House Courts over two days (February 15 and 17, 2016) as “a reaction to the incidents, which are grave in nature and very dangerous for the country”.

The Bar Council of India Joint Secretary Ashok Kumar Pandey claimed that a large number of JNU teachers and students and others had arrived at the court in three to four buses and raised slogans and used “provocative words”. This led to the untoward incident in which “both the sides took part,” said the report, adding that “any true citizen or a lawyer of India” was supposed to react strongly to the “anti-India” slogans.

We, the undersigned faculty members of Jawaharlal Nehru University, wish to set the record straight. Nine of us reached Patiala House Court No 4 between 1 and 1.15 pm on 15th February 2016 to attend the hearing on Kanhaiya Kumar’s bail plea. The sole objective of our presence there was that when Kanhaiya Kumar was produced he would see the faces of his teachers in the courtroom. At that time, a few students and other teachers of JNU, and some members of CPI, the parent organisation of Kanhaiya’s student group, were already waiting silently outside, similarly wanting him to see friendly and familiar faces when he was produced. There were about 15 to 20 of them, hardly enough to fill four cars, let alone one bus.

Initially, we (signatories to this letter) waited on the benches outside the courtroom, along with a few journalists. After the lunch break the court clerk and stenographer invited us to come into the courtroom and we were seated there even when a few lawyers, an under-trial and a policemen, etc walked in and out of the room. We were not asked by anybody at that point to leave. About fifteen minutes later, about ten to twelve men dressed in lawyer’s clothes rushed in, shouting at us to get out. These lawyers were led by a man whom we later recognised from the media coverage the next day as Mr Vikram Singh Chauhan. At that time we did not know who any of them were. They crowded the small room and abused us, saying that JNU teachers were anti-national and “deshdrohis”, that we were all “Pakistanis” and asking us ‘what kind of antinational education do you give your students’?

We tried to reason with them not to be abusive, and said that we had a right to be in the courtroom, but they continued to heckle us as “Pakistanis”, and told us that the seats were for lawyers alone. The police kept on just watching and did not intervene to stop them. Some of us even got up and told them that they could take our chairs and we would just stand, but they started physically trying to push us out of the courtroom. Our younger male colleague, Dr Rohit, who was standing at the back, was grabbed by his collar and dragged towards the centre of the courtroom. Chauhan said “maar do isko” and began raining blows on Rohit. Women faculty close to him tried to stop him physically, but the lawyers continued hurling abuses, and some of us were pushed and jostled and touched inappropriately in the process. The attempt was clearly to intimidate and harass us into leaving the courtroom, and indeed Patiala Court premises. The police and court staff kept on watching and did not intervene to stop them.

Profs Neera Kongari, Rohit, Himanshu and Janaki Nair were pushed outside the courtroom. Most of the men dressed in lawyers’ clothes rushed out after them. Extremely abusive language was used by the lawyers.

Those of us who remained inside could hear sounds of men shouting from outside, and fearing that we would be subject to even greater physical violence, five women faculty – Profs. Ayesha Kidwai, Madhu Sahni, Nivedita Menon, Susan Viswanathan, and Chitra Harshvardhan – once again sat down. A larger contingent of policemen entered the courtroom and asked us to vacate the courtroom. Some of the aggressive lawyers came back in and although we requested the police to hold them back, they did not even ask these lawyers to leave. Instead they were allowed to enter and leave the courtroom as they wished. We asked the police to bring us orders from the magistrate asking us to clear the courtroom and demanded to be escorted out of the building. We were told that the magistrate had given verbal orders to the police to clear the courtroom, but we insisted that we be given police protection throughout. When a contingent of policewomen arrived, it took the police 10 minutes to find a way to escort us out of the courtroom as the doorways and the courtyard was blocked by shouting lawyers. The police were forced to find another exit and led us to another ground floor exit but that was blocked too by shouting and screaming lawyers. We were led then up the stairs and at least two other stairwells were tried but we were led away as the police was unsure that they could get us out safely.

Other lawyers who passed us on the corridor kept up the threatening tone, saying we should all be sent to Pakistan. Finally, a safe exit into the ground floor shed where the notary publics sit, was found. The police escorted us to the gate and bundled five of us into autorickshaws as they feared that we would be assaulted even if were to walk to our cars parked in the parking lot.

JNU faculty who had been pushed outside the courtroom were completely silent, and they noted that the lawyers led by Chauhan, when finally obstructed by the police, sent in two women lawyers who also shouted abuse at the JNU faculty assembled in the courtroom. A few minutes later all the lawyers rushed out of the courtroom saying “nikal gaye” and began beating up every young person assuming they were JNU students, including a very young couple.

Later media coverage confirmed that students and the media people, as well as a CPI member, were assaulted by the mob outside.

Kanhaiya Kumar was not produced in court on that day, and when he was produced on the 17th, only one JNU faculty member was present, Prof Himanshu; in fact we were asked by Kanhaiya’s lawyers to stay away so that our presence would not create the opportunity for further violence. It was on that day, when no faculty was present, and only the same handful of JNU students and CPI activists, that Kanhaiya was physically assaulted and the media terrorised and beaten up for the second time by the same lawyers in full view of a passive police force.

So the claim of provocative slogans from “3 to 4 busloads” of JNU people rousing lawyers to physical assault is patently false.

The Bar Council report surprisingly fails to mention two crucial bits of evidence:
  1. The WhatsApp message in Hindi that was circulated over February 14-15, that clearly mobilised for the attack. The message, snapshots of which are freely available in the media, calls upon all recipients to assemble in large numbers at Patiala House on Monday 15th to “peacefully and legally” “produce befitting consequences” (anjaam tak pahunchana) for the traitors who have been conspiring in Ganga Dhaba (JNU) and,
  2. The sting operation by India Today that reveals Vikram Singh Chauhan and others boasting about their violent assaults on Kanhiaya and others.
From the transcript of the deposition of Kanhaiya Kumar to the Supreme Court judges’ panel after the attack on him the second day, made public on February 27th by CNN-IBN, it is also clear that the registrar general of the high court had been present at the time, and had asked Jatin Narwal, DCP, New Delhi, “to catch the guy” whom Kanhaiya identified as his attacker, but he failed to do so. When the DCP claims at one point that he was not in the room when Kanhaiya was attacked, the registrar again intervenes, saying “No sir, he was inside the room along with 10-12 officers.” (Transcript available in The Indian Express of February 28, 2016).

It is shocking that the Bar Council of India should produce such a patently false account of events that exactly matches the claims of Vikram Singh Chauhan and BJP MLA OP Sharma who led the violent mob. Even more appalling is the fact that a body that represents practising lawyers should justify physical violence on the grounds that anti-India slogans were raised, which is any case, a blatant lie.

Is the legal community now going to subvert due process and rule of law and take matters into their own hands whenever they feel their sentiments are hurt? This is particularly paradoxical given Vikram Singh Chauhan’s recent interview to The Hindu (February 27, 2016) in which he says the media has “already found him guilty”, for it seems BCI not only justifies Kanhaiya’s being “found guilty” by self-proclaimed nationalist lawyers, even before he is produced in court, but also their attack on him on the basis of their perception.

Chitra Harshvardhan
Himanshu
Ayesha Kidwai
Neera Kongari
Nivedita Menon
Janaki Nair
Rohit
Madhu Sahni
Susan Visvanathan

Photo Credit: VictorVibhu/Twitter
CPDR Condemns the Brutal Police Attack on the Dalit Students and Faculty at Hyderabad Central University
Yesterday, on 22 March 2016, the Hyderabad Police brutally attacked the students and faculty of the Hyderabad Central University who protested against resumption of Appa Rao Poddile, Vice Chancellor. Many students and two faculty members were badly injured in the police attack. Some 36 students along with two professors, K Y Ratnam and Tathagat Sengupta were taken into custody, the whereabouts of them remains unknown till today.   

Appa Rao Poddile, the Vice Chancellor, who was sent on leave in the wake of students’ agitation that broke out over the suicide of a Dalit scholar, Rohith Vemula, joined back the University. Appa Rao’s prejudiced actions against the Dalit scholars were exposed to the world during the flare up over Rohith’s death. He, along with Bandaru Dattatreya, and Smriti Irani are clearly responsible for his institutional murder. Hyderabad Police had accordingly booked him along with the union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, N Sushil Kumar, the HCU Unit of the ABVP and one Vishnu for abetment of suicide and also for violations of the SC/ST Atrocities Act. The cases under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code and also the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (prevention of atrocities) Act were filed in Gachibowli police station under Cyberabad police commissionerate limits. In its characteristic obstinacy the HRD Ministry sent him back to take charge of the university.  

While the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) were protesting with sit-in in front of the VC’s lodge some elements indulged in stone throwing and causing damage to it in order to provide an alibi for the police to crack down. This has been the pet strategy of the Hindutva camp as the JNU slogan shouting and subsequent crack down on the innocent students revealed. The authorities should investigate and identify the culprit instead of charging the ASA students (and even faculty) for these acts without any proof.     

Appa Rao had a history of anti-Dalit actions in the university. Rohith had written him a note insinuating how casteist environment in the university was alienating Dalit students. Any Vice Chancellor worth his salt would have been alarmed and counseled with him. However, Appa Rao has been so callous and incompetent that he never bothered to comprehend the consequences of his abominable punishment to the five Dalit scholars. It was an apt case for summary dismissal for the HRD Ministry but the latter chose to persist with such characters that carry out its saffron agenda. For the Hyderabad Police, there was a prima facie case to arrest Appa Rao, instead they cracked down on the students and faculty who protested against his reinstatement.        

CPDR demands
·         Release all students and faculty unconditionally.
·         Withdraw cases against them.
·         Investigate who indulged in vandalism and book them for the crime
·         Remove Appa Rao from the post of Vice Chancellor
·         Bring a person with proven competence to restore the academic climate of the University.
 
Dr Anand Teltumbde, General Secretary, Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), Maharashtra
 
 
Chomsky, Pamuk, 84 Others Slam ‘Shameful Act of Indian Government’
 

Eminent academicians, scientists and writers from across the world, including Noam Chomsky and Orhan Pamuk, have recorded their condemnation of the arrest of JNU student Kanhaiya Kumar in a strongly-worded statement that says it is "evidence of the present government's deeply authoritarian nature, intolerant of any dissent".

A statement signed by 86 academicians from renowned universities also condemns "the culture of authoritarian menace that the present government in India has generated".
The statement says: "We have learnt of the shameful act of the Indian government which, invoking sedition laws formulated by India's colonial rulers, ordered the police to enter the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus and unlawfully arrest a student leader, Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar, on charges of inciting violence – without any proof whatever of such wrongdoing on his part."

Expressing solidarity with protesting JNU students and faculty, who have boycotted classes to press for Kumar's release, the statement says: "Mr. Kumar, whose speech (widely available on a video) cannot in any way be connected with the slogans uttered on the previous day, was nonetheless arrested for 'anti-national' behaviour and for violating the sedition laws against the incitement to violence. Since there is no evidence to establish these charges, we can only conclude that this arrest is further evidence of the present government's deeply authoritarian nature, intolerant of any dissent, setting aside India's longstanding commitment to toleration and plurality of opinion, replicating the dark times of an oppressive colonial period and briefly of the Emergency in the mid-1970s. "

The action of the police had brought "great dishonor" to the government, the signatories assert, and urge "all those genuinely concerned about the future of India and Indian universities to protest in wide mobilisation against it."
 
(NDTV).
Chomsky to JNU V-C: why did you allow police on campus?


Photo: Courtesy Reuters

Maintains there is no credible evidence of seditious activities in the academic institution

Renowned thinker and academician Noam Chomsky has questioned the way administration at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) handled the recent controversy on campus

In an e-mail to Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar, Mr. Chomsky has questioned the decision to allow police on the campus. “Many of us remain very concerned about the crisis in JNU, which was apparently created and precipitated by the government and university administration with no credible evidence of any seditious activities on campus. Why did you allow the police on campus when it is clear that this was not legally required?” the e-mail sent on Sunday read.

Students and teachers at JNU have also been protesting the alleged mishandling of the issue by the university administration and questioned the decision to allow the police on campus.

The administration, in its defence, has maintained that “the university was bound to do so”, even as protesting students and teachers contended that the matter was one of indiscipline and not sedition.

“I never invited the police to enter the campus and pick up our students. We only provided whatever cooperation was needed as per the law of the land. We only asked police to do whatever deemed fit,” the V-C had earlier said.

The university has also set-up a high-level committee to probe the issue. On the basis of the committee’s preliminary report, Kanhaiya Kumar and seven other students have been suspended. A final report is expected to be ready by February 25.

Mr. Chomsky, along with Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and 86 other academicians, has condemned “the culture of authoritarian menace that the present government in India has generated” and said that those in power are replicating the dark times of the oppressive colonial period and the Emergency.

The JNU Students’ Union president was arrested on February 12 after being charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy.

Courtesy: The Hindu

'Embrace critical thinking': 455 academicians from international universities sign statement in support of JNU students

 
Over 400 academicians from international varsities, including Columbia, Yale, Harvard and Cambridge, have come out in support of JNU students agitating against a row over an event on the campus.

A joint statement signed by 455 academicians from global universities, said, "JNU stands for a vital imagination of the space of the university an imagination that embraces critical thinking, democratic dissent, student activism, and the plurality of political beliefs. It is this critical imagination that the current establishment seeks to destroy.

“And we know that this is not a problem for India alone".

"Similar attacks on critical dissent and university spaces are being attempted and resisted across the world. An open, tolerant, and democratic society is inextricably linked to critical thought and expression cultivated by universities in India and abroad.

"As teachers, students, and scholars across the world, we are watching with extreme concern the situation unfolding at JNU and refuse to remain silent as our colleagues (students, staff, and faculty) resist the illegal detention and autocratic suspension of students," said the academicians, some of which are JNU alumni.

Outlook
 
‘We refuse to be mouthpiece of an oppressive government ‘: 3 office bearers of ABVP’s JNU unit resign


Registering a strong protest against the ongoing rift in Jawaharlal Nehru University, three office bearers of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) resigned from their respective posts on Wednesday, 17 February. Pradeep, Rahul Yadav and Ankit Hans posted an open letter on Facebook spelling out the main reasons for their joint resignation: crackdown at JNU, ABVP’s Manuwaad and ‘Rohith Vimula’ incident.

Here is the complete post:

Dear friends,

We, Pradeep, joint secretary, ABVP JNU unit, Rahul Yadav, president SSS ABVP Unit and Ankit Hans, secretary SSS ABVP unit [are] resigning from ABVP and disassociating ourselves from any further activity of ABVP as per our difference of opinion due to the following reasons:

1. Current JNU incident.

2. Long standing difference of opinion with party on MANUSMIRITI and Rohith Vermula incident.

Anti-national slogans on Feb. 9 in university campus were very unfortunate and heart breaking. Whosoever responsible for that act must be punished as per the law but the way NDA government tackling the whole issue, the oppression on Professors, repeated lawyer attacks on Media and Kanhaiya kumar in court premises is unjustifiable and we think there is a difference between interrogation and crushing ideology and branding entire left as Anti-national.

People are circulating #ShutDownJNU but I think they must circulate #ShutDownZeeNews which has demeaned this world class institution, this biased ZEE news media generalize and related the act done by few people to the whole student community of JNU. JNU is considered as one of the progressive and democratic institution where we can see intermingling of people from lower to upper income strata of the society, notion of equality.

We can't be mouthpiece of such a govt. which has unleashed oppression on student community, legislature like O P Sharma, govt. which has legitimized the action of right wing fascist forces either in Patiala house court or in front of JNU north gate. Every day we see people assemble at front gate with Indian Flag to beat JNU student, well this is hooliganism not nationalism, you can't do anything in the name of nation, there is a difference between nationalism and hooliganism.

Anti-India slogans can't be tolerated in campus or any part of country, JNUSU& some left organization are saying that nothing has happened in the campus but here we want to stress that veiled persons in the event organized by former DSU persons shouted slogans BHARAT TERE TUKADDE HONGE of which there is concrete evidence in videos, so we demand any person responsible for the slogans should be punished as per the law, and in this whole process we also condemn media trial which has culminated in Anti-JNU sentiments throughout the country.

Today we all must stand together to save JNU which has given us identity, we need to come across party lines to save reputation of this institution, to save future of JNUites as more than 80% of students don't belong to any political party so let's unite to save this JNU culture.

|VANDE MATRAM |

| JAI BHIM |

| JAI BHARAT |
 
 
देशभक्ति के नाम पर देश के क़ानून की धज्जियां उड़ाई जा रही हैं: हिन्दी लेखकोँ का बयान

Image: indianexpress.com
 

हम हिन्दी के लेखक देश के प्रमुख विश्वविद्यालय जवाहरलाल नेहरू विश्वविद्यालय में 9 फरवरी को हुई घटना के बाद से जारी पुलिसिया दमन पर गहरा क्षोभ प्रकट करते हैं। दुनिया भर के विश्वविद्यालय खुले डेमोक्रेटिक स्पेस रहे हैं जहाँ राष्ट्रीय सीमाओं के पार सहमतियाँ और असहमतियाँ खुल कर रखी जाती रही हैं और बहसें होती रही हैं। यहाँ हम औपनिवेशिक शासन के दिनों में ब्रिटिश विश्वविद्यालयों में भारत की आज़ादी के लिए चलाये गए भारतीय और स्थानीय छात्रों के अभियानों को याद कर सकते हैं, वियतनाम युद्ध के समय अमेरिकी संस्थानों में अमेरिका के विरोध को याद कर सकते हैं और इराक युद्ध मे योरप और अमेरिका के नागरिकों और छात्रों के विरोधों को भी। सत्ता संस्थानों से असहमतियाँ देशद्रोह नहीं होतीं। हमारे देश का देशद्रोह क़ानून भी औपनिवेशिक शासन में अंग्रेज़ों द्वारा अपने खिलाफ उठने वाली हर आवाज़ को दबाने के लिए बनाया गया था जिसकी एक स्वतंत्र लोकतांत्रिक समाज में कोई आवश्यकता नहीं। असहमतियों का दमन लोकतन्त्र नहीं फ़ासीवाद का लक्षण है।

इस घटना में कथित रूप से लगाए गए कुछ नारे निश्चित रूप से आपत्तिजनक हैं। भारत के टुकड़े करने या बरबादी की कोई भी ख़्वाहिश स्वागतेय नहीं हो सकती। हम ऐसे नारों की निंदा करते हैं। साथ में यह भी मांग करते हैं कि इन विडियोज की प्रमाणिकता की निष्पक्ष जांच कराई जाए। लेकिन इनकी आड़ में जे एन यू को बंद करने की मांग, वहाँ पुलिसिया कार्यवाही और वहाँ के छात्रसंघ अध्यक्ष की गिरफ्तारी कतई उचित नहीं है। जैसा कि प्रख्यात न्यायविद सोली सोराबजी ने कहा है नारेबाजी को देशद्रोह नहीं कहा जा सकता। यह घटना जिस कैंपस में हुई उसके पास इससे निपटने और उचित कार्यवाही करने के लिए अपना मैकेनिज़्म है और उस पर भरोसा किया जाना चाहिए था।

हाल के दिनों में बनारस हिन्दू विश्वविद्यालय में ख्यात कवि और विचारक बद्रीनारायण पर हमला, सीपीएम के कार्यालयों पर हमला, दिल्ली के पटियाला कोर्ट में कार्यवाही के दौरान एक भाजपा विधायक सहित कुछ वकीलों का छात्रों, शिक्षकों और पत्रकारों पर हमला बताता है कि देशभक्ति के नाम पर किस तरह देश के क़ानून की धज्जियां उड़ाई जा रही हैं। इन सबकी पहचानें साफ होने के बावजूद पुलिस द्वारा कोई कार्यवाही न किया जाना इसे सरकारी संरक्षण मिलने की ओर स्पष्ट इशारा करता है। असल में यह लोकतन्त्र पर फासीवाद के हावी होते जाने का स्पष्ट संकेत है। गृहमंत्री का एक फर्जी ट्वीट के आधार पर दिया गया गंभीर बयान बताता है कि सत्ता तंत्र किस तरह पूरे मामले को अगंभीरता से ले रहा है। ऐसे में हम सरकार से मांग करते हैं कि देश में लोकतान्त्रिक स्पेसों को बचाने, अभिव्यक्ति की आज़ादी के अधिकार की रक्षा और गुंडा ताकतों के नियंत्रण के लिए गंभीर कदम उठाए। जे एन यू छात्रसंघ अध्यक्ष को फौरन रिहा करे, आयोजकों का विच हंट बंद करे, वहाँ से पुलिस हटाकर जांच जेएनयू के प्रशासन को सौंपें तथा पटियाला कोर्ट में गुंडागर्दी करने वालों को कड़ी से कड़ी सज़ा दें।

मंगलेश डबराल
राजेश जोशी
ज्ञान रंजन
पुरुषोत्तम अग्रवाल
असद ज़ैदी
उज्जवल भट्टाचार्य
मोहन श्रोत्रिय
ओम थानवी
सुभाष गाताडे
अरुण माहेश्वरी
नरेंद्र गौड़
बटरोही
कुलदीप कुमार
सुधा अरोड़ा
सुमन केशरी
नन्द भारद्वाज
ईश मिश्र
लाल्टू
कुमार अम्बुज
शमसुल इस्लाम
सुधीर सुमन
ऋषिकेष सुलभ
विनोद दास
राजकुमार राकेश
हरिओम राजोरिया
अनिल मिश्र
नंदकिशोर नीलम
अरुण कुमार श्रीवास्तव
मधु कांकरिया
सरला माहेश्वरी
वंदना राग
मुसाफिर बैठा
अरविन्द चतुर्वेद
प्रमोद रंजन
हिमांशु पांड्या
वैभव सिंह
मनोज पाण्डेय
शिरीष कुमार मौर्य
अशोक कुमार पाण्डेय
वर्षा सिंह
विशाल श्रीवास्तव
उमा शंकर चौधरी
चन्दन पाण्डेय
असंग घोष
विजय गौड़
अरुणाभ सौरभ
देवयानी भारद्वाज
पंकज श्रीवास्तव
कविता
हरप्रीत कौर
अनुप्रिया
राकेश पाठक
संजय जोठे
रामजी तिवारी
कृष्णकांत
मनोज पटेल
देश निर्मोही
प्रज्ञा रोहिणी
दीप सांखला
अमलेंदु उपाध्याय
प्रमोद धारीवाल
अनिल कार्की
देवेन्द्र कुमार आर्य
प्रमोद कुमार तिवारी
अरविंद सुरवाड़े (मराठी)
आलोक जोशी
रोहित कौशिक
मनोज छबड़ा
अमिताभ श्रीवात्सव
ऋतु मिश्रा
कनक तिवारी
ईश्वर चंद्र
नित्यानन्द गाएन
शशिकला राय
पंकज मिश्रा
कपिल शर्मा (सांगवारी)
विभास कुमार श्रीवास्तव
मेहरबान सिंह पटेल

 

Teachers of 40 Central universities came out in support of their counterparts and students at JNU
In a show of strength, teachers of 40 Central universities came out in support of their counterparts and students at JNU who are protesting the arrest of the university’s students’ union president in a sedition case.

Support came in from Hyderabad University’s Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, which itself is fighting for justice for Rohith Vemula.

“Joint Action Committee for Social Justice (UoH) strongly condemns the attack on students all over the country, the planned attack on JNU students by the State, the arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, police brutality and militarisation of campuses, the attack on university autonomy and constant state intervention in universities,” it said in a statement.

Expressing solidarity with the JNU teachers and students, Nandita Narain, president of Federation of Central University Teachers Association (FEDCUTA), asserted that the opposition raised by the students was “anti-establishment and not anti-national”.

“The event could be in bad taste but was not seditious. Whatever opposition the students have is against the present government and not against the Constitution. This kind of police action against the students on the pretext of national security is uncalled for,” she said.

Students of Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), who were supported by JNU students in their protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman, expressed solidarity with the agitators and accused the government of harassing and threatening those who dare to oppose its ideology.

In a letter to the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) Harishankar Nachimuthu, the president of the Students’ Association, FTII said, “We express our solidarity with the JNU students and condemn the random arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy and demand his immediate release. The current government has not learnt anything from the tragic death of Rohith Vemula and is continuing with the vilification, harassment and threat to those who dare to oppose its ideology.”

A faculty of Ambedkar University said, “Today it is JNU, tomorrow it could be any other university. Any voice of dissent being branded as anti-national is dangerous for any educational institution or community at large. No university should allow such indiscriminate raids on student hostels.”

(The Hindu)
 
All India Lawyers Union writes to Delhi HC chief justice for action against errant lawyers and police at Patiala court


Letter of Solidarity to the Students of JNU, India: Democratic Students’ Alliance, Pakistan

Dear Student friends of JNU, Delhi
 
The issue of academic freedom is one that is tied to the essence of education itself: to think, to question, to speak and probe, to understand, to challenge and to learn.
The strangulation of political and academic freedoms is a dark hallmark of despotic and authoritarian societies and governments which aim to silence and subjugate. State intrusion in intellectual spaces is an assault on democratic rights and liberties; academic freedom must not be subordinated to state agendas. We believe that political freedoms are central to a democratic state and that their suspension leads to nothing but danger.
 
DSA Pakistan Letter of Solidarity

DSA Pakistan Letter of Solidarity
 
We reject the charges of sedition, subversion and treason that are used to silence, suppress and smother voices that do not resonate with state-sanctioned truths and resonate beyond state-imposed parameters of intellectual, political, cultural and social thought and action.
We, the members of the Democratic Students Alliance, know well the struggle and cost of challenging state narratives. We strive for the revival of student unions in Pakistan and admire their existence in India, for we believe students of this region are forces that can salvage the future of our countries from the archaic but potent forces of myopia, hate and coercion that have held out countries hostage.

It is in the spirit of these ideas that we strongly condemn the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar (JNUSU), the attack on JNU and extend our solidarity and lend our entire support to the brave students standing against this injustice.

Across the border, we stand in unity and solidarity.

More power to you, more power to students.

17th February, 2016

Democratic Students’ Alliance, Pakistan
 
Statement of Solidarity with Student Protests in India, from students of the University of Chicago
We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the arbitrary, unconstitutional, and anti-democratic actions of the /RSS/ABVP/Delhi Police continuum at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus. We demand an immediate end to all police action on campus, a withdrawal of all frivolous charges against the President of JNU Students’ Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, and other students, as well as an end to the of harassment and intimidation against students at the university.

We believe that these actions by the Indian state and its associated groups and institutions are part of a larger campaign to stifle dissenting voices in the country, especially on university campuses which have persistently resisted the capitalist, Brahmanical hegemony of the current . This was clearly evident in the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula, a PhD student at Hyderabad Central University (HCU) last month. The similarity of the modus operandi in Hyderabad and Delhi is striking: Rohith and his comrades had been accused of ‘anti-national’ activities for their condemnation of the hanging of Yakub Memon, and suspended from their academic positions on these undemocratic grounds. Similar charges have been framed against the students of JNU for organizing an event in solidarity with the struggle of Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination. To make matters murkier, it is now certain that at the event, which also marked the third anniversary of the execution of Afzal Guru, the ABVP was involved in raising the controversial slogans that are being cited to justify the sedition charge. We are of the firm opinion that protesting against state violence is a fundamental right that must not become vulnerable to arbitrary violation by governments, police and university administrations.

We believe that the colonial-era laws of sedition — already diluted and read down by the Supreme Court — are an embarrassment to ’s democratic principles. The criminalization of dissent in this case reveals how ’s current political leadership has been unable to respect diversity and guarantee the full legal rights of its people. Its political program imagines the citizen as upper caste, heterosexual, male, Hindu; its economic program necessitates a blind faith in neoliberalism; and its social program continually imagines an enemy – the Muslim, the Dalit, the Left. It is not surprising that a government so debilitated and blinkered by its ideological narrowness has invoked the charge of sedition and sent police forces into the JNU campus, an action reminiscent of the worst years of Emergency.

We are also distressed by views expressed in certain sections of the Indian media regarding the legitimacy of political activism in public universities. This argument claims that since central and state governments subsidize in public institutions, it is the responsibility of beneficiaries to refrain from critiquing state policies and to solely prioritize their studies. We firmly reject this cost-benefit understanding of as shallow, apolitical, and deeply reactionary. As the saying goes, ‘ is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’. The current administration and sections of the media would prefer students to remain uncritical of the violence of Brahmanism, communalism, and neoliberal capitalism. But the Rohiths of the world will keep lighting a fire and keep burning down bigotry. We believe that both public and free speech are fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution, rights that have been earned through long struggle and rights that we will keep fighting for in India and elsewhere as we face systematic neoliberal onslaughts on dissent and .

To our friends, colleagues and comrades in JNU, HCU, and elsewhere, we stand with you in your resistance against state sponsored violence, which curbs any form of dissent on the one hand, and on the other, condones hate speech by Hindu nationalists. We believe that scholarship and the concomitant development of our critical faculties should be used in dreaming of and implementing a better, pluralistic and just society.

Sayantan Saha Roy, PhD student, Anthropology
Ahona Panda, PhD student, South Asian Languages and Civilizations
Harini Kumar, PhD student, Anthropology
Tanima, PhD student, Anthropology
Sneha Annavarapu, PhD student, Sociology
Abhishek Bhattacharyya, Phd Student, South Asian Languages and Civilizations and Anthropology
Tejas Parasher, PhD student, Political Science
Jenisha Borah, PhD student, Cinema and Media Studies.
Suchismita Das, PhD student, Anthropology
Vidura Jang Bahadur, MFA student, Visual Art
Mannat Johal, PhD student, Anthropology
Shefali Jha, PhD student, Anthropology
Sanjukta Poddar, PhD student, South Asian Languages and Civilizations
Aditi Das, PhD student, Social Service Administration
Joya John, PhD student, South Asian Languages and Civilizations
Marc Kelly, PhD student, Anthropology
Eleonore Rimbault, PhD student, Anthropology
Eric Powell, PhD student, English
Patrick Lewis, PhD student, Anthropology
Romit Chakraborty, PhD student, Chemistry
Gautham Reddy, PhD student, South Asian Languages and Civilizations
Amanda Shubert, PhD student, English
Peter McDonald, PhD student, English
Hannah Chazin, PhD student, Anthropology
Jahnabi Barooah, PhD student, Divinity
Margherita Trento, PhD student, South Asian Languages and Civilizations
Peter Malonis, PhD student, Neuroscience
Zoya Sameen, PhD student, History
Sharvari Sastry, PhD student, South Asian Languages and Civilizations
Andrew Messamore, MA student, Social Sciences Division
Thomas Newbold, PhD student, South Asian Languages and Civilizations
Eduardo L. Acosta, PhD student, South Asian Languages and Civilizations
Uday Jain, PhD student, Committee on Social Thought
 
‘State behavior authoritarian’: Statement in support from students and teachers of American universities
We, the undersigned at Syracuse University, Colgate University, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, are in solidarity with our comrades at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), India against the ongoing anti-democratic actions by the Indian state. We demand an immediate end to the police action against students on campus, and withdrawal of all charges against Kanhaiya Kumar, President of the JNU Students’ Union. We further demand that the Central Government put an immediate end to its prejudiced persecution of student activists on campuses across the country.

We strongly believe that the charge of sedition against Kanhaiya Kumar follows spurious claims. This arrest is an excuse for the state to root out dissenting voices on JNU campus, a move towards converting educational institutions like JNU into an arm of the authoritarian state. Attempts of a similar nature have been witnessed recently at other Indian educational institutions such as Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and Hyderabad University. The growing threat to academic freedom posed by the current political climate is transnational, and extends beyond India to other parts of the world – it is a threat we face here in the United States, too.

For any word or action to qualify as being “seditious” under Indian law, it has to directly issue a call to violence. This was not the nature of the protest held by a group of JNU students against the judiciary’s decision regarding Afzal Guru, who was convicted of an attack on the Indian parliament. The peaceful protest held on February 9 on campus was not unlike other protests convened at the university over the last several decades. Dissent is an essential part of a healthy democracy. We therefore strongly condemn the Indian government’s response to the students’ protests and demand that the state refrain from authoritarian behaviour. In this spirit, we urge the vice chancellor of JNU to protect members of the university community and safeguard their democratic rights.
 
  1. Natasha S.K., Social Science, Syracuse University
  2. Taveeshi Singh, Social Science, Syracuse University
  3. Mitul Baruah, Geography, Syracuse University
  4. Sean Wang, Geography, Syracuse University
  5. Miguel Contreras, Geography, Syracuse University
  6. Manuela Ruiz Reyes, Geography, Syracuse University
  7. Carolina Arango-Vargas, Anthropology, Syracuse University
  8. Tina Catania, Geography, Syracuse University
  9. Linh Khanh Nguyen, Anthropology, Syracuse University
  10. Jon Erickson, Geography, Syracuse University
  11. Tom Perreault, Geography, Syracuse University
  12. Jessie Speer, Geography, Syracuse University
  13. Sravani Biswas, History, Syracuse University
  14. Don Mitchell, Geography, Syracuse University
  15. Tod Rutherford, Geography, Syracuse University
  16. Jacquelyn MicieliVoutsinas, Geography, Syracuse University
  17. Sturdy Knight, Information Studies, Syracuse University
  18. Jenna Sikka, Sociology, Syracuse University
  19. Jaisang Sun, Social Science, Syracuse University
  20. Madhura Lohokare, Anthropology, Syracuse University
  21. Brian Dobreski, Information Studies, Syracuse University
  22. Sujata Bajracharya, Religion, Syracuse University
  23. Chandra TalpadeMohanty, Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University
  24. Alisa Weinstein, Anthropology, Syracuse University
  25. Li Chen, Mass Communications, Syracuse University
  26. Taapsi Ramchandani, Anthropology, Syracuse University
  27. Laura Jaffee, Cultural Foundations of Education, Syracuse University
  28. Tula Goenka, Television-Radio-Film, Syracuse University
  29. Romita Ray, Art and Music Histories, Syracuse University
  30. Dorothy Kou, Sociology, Syracuse University
  31. Kriangsak Terrakowitkajom, Geography, Syracuse University
  32. Susan S. Wadley, Anthropology, Syracuse University
  33. Emily Mitchell-Eaton, Geography, Syracuse University
  34. Scarlett Rebman, History, Syracuse University
  35. Matt Huber, Geography, Syracuse University
  36. Brian Hennigan, Geography, Syracuse University
  37. Parvathy Binoy, Geography, Syracuse University
  38. Liz Mount, Sociology, Syracuse University
  39. Himika Bhattacharya, Women’s & Gender Studies, Syracuse University
  40. John Western, Geography, Syracuse University
  41. Vani Kannan, Composition and Cultural Rhetoric, Syracuse University
  42. Ani Maitra, Film and Media Studies, Colgate University
  43. Diane Swords, Cultural Foundations of Education, Syracuse University
  44. Alejandro Camargo, Geography, Syracuse University
  45. Cecilia Van Hollen, Anthropology, Syracuse University
  46. Alexandra Jebbia, Documentary Film & History, Syracuse University
  47. David Gustavsen, English, Syracuse University
  48. Michael Gill, Cultural Foundations of Education, Syracuse University
  49. Tiago Teixeira, Geography, Syracuse University
  50. Nimanthi Rajasingham, English, Colgate University
  51. Kimberly E. Powell, Women’s & Gender Studies, Syracuse University
  52. Sharon Moran, Environmental Studies, SUNY-ESF
  53. Adam Fix, Environmental Studies, SUNY-ESF
  54. Alvaro A. Salas, Public Administration, Syracuse University
  55. Diane R. Wiener, Division of Student Affairs – Disability Cultural Center, Syracuse University
  56. Brett Keegan, Composition and Cultural Rhetoric, Syracuse University
  57. Jyoti G. Balachandran, History, Colgate University
  58. Barbara L. Regenspan, Educational Studies, Colgate University
  59. Deborah J. Knuth Klenck, English, Colgate University
  60. Suzanne B. Spring, Writing & Rhetoric, Colgate University
  61. Cristina Serna, Women’s Studies, Colgate University
  62. Joel Bordeaux, Religion, Colgate University
  63. Mark Stern, Educational Studies, Colgate University
  64. Susan Thomson, Peace and Conflict Studies, Colgate University
  65. Kapil Mandrekar, Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY-ESF.
  66. Jackie Orr, Sociology, Syracuse University.
Kafila.org
Nearly 400 Scientists ‘Deeply Disappointed’ With JNU VC

Nearly 400 scientists and academics, including many eminent ones from the leading institutions in the country, address a joint letter to Jagadesh Kumar, the vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University. Here below is the full text and list of signatories

Dear Prof. Jagadesh Kumar,

We are writing, as a group of academics, to express our deep disappointment with your actions in the events leading up to the arrest and detention of several students last week.

We understand that last Tuesday, a student group organised a rally to commemorate the death anniversary of Afzal Guru. The police alleges that some of the students voiced controversial opinions. The police then proceeded to arrest the president of the JNU Students Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, and charged him with sedition. This has been followed by a number of further detentions. What is most disturbing is that the JNU administration appears to have defended and aided these repressive actions by the police, rather than defending the students who were involved in a non-violent activity.

The arrest of the president of the JNUSU is especially troublesome since he was not even an organiser of the rally but merely present to express his solidarity. However, even as far the organisers and the speakers at the event are concerned, we hope that you recognise that expressing controversial views in a peaceful forum cannot be equated with sedition. For example, many people believe that Afzal Guru was let down by a lack of appropriate legal representation in his trial, and that his execution was therefore a grave miscarriage of justice. One may agree or disagree with this viewpoint — and, indeed, signatories to this letter hold different positions —  but we are unanimous that students should have the right to freely discuss this issue. This is such a basic pillar of academic ethics that we were dismayed by the statement made by the registrar of JNU, Mr. Bupinder Zutshi, who reportedly said, “The government of India hanged him [Afzal Guru] after declaring him a terrorist. How could we allow them to organise an anti-Indian programme?” This indicates a complete lack of appreciation of the concept of academic freedom.

India is a vast country, and no one group can define what it means to be “nationalist” or “anti-national” is, in specific terms of positions to hold and causes to support. The country’s fabric is strong enough to accommodate a plurality of views. It is the attempt to suppress differing viewpoints that is genuinely damaging for the country’s democratic ethos. Further, we believe that creativity in all branches of knowledge – surely in the interest of our nation – finds highest expression in a milieu that does not put constraints on the freedom of thought.

It is ironic that this attempt to suppress dissent occurred at one of the country’s leading Universities. A University is a site where contesting ideas are explored and where students should be able to freely debate and discuss various views, including controversial ones, without the threat of state action.

Senior members of the government have aggressively targeted your students. The JNU administration should have protected its students against these attacks and charges that have also vitiated the police investigation. We are deeply disappointed that you have failed to carry out this responsibility.

We hope that you will take urgent corrective steps to ensure that the police releases the arrested students, and also to ensure that it drops the unsubstantiated charges against them. We also hope that, in the future, you will take steps to protect freedom of speech on the JNU campus.

The individuals listed here have signed this letter in their personal capacity. Institutional affiliations are listed for purposes of identification, and this letter does not indicate the official positions of these organisations. Names are arranged in alphabetical order.
 
Sl. Name Affiliation Position
1 Aanayat Bhat Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore student
2 Abhijith M S IIT Hyderabad student
3 Abhik Jash Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
4 Abhishek Atreya Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad researcher
5 Abhishek Dhar International Centre for Theoretical Sciences faculty
6 Abu Anand Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore student
7 Adhip Agarwala Indian Institute of Science researcher
8 Adway Mitra Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore researcher
9 Ajin K Prakash Alpha College of Engineering student
10 Ajit M. Srivastava Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar faculty
11 Alok Laddha Chennai Mathematical Institute, Chennai faculty
12 Alok Tiwari Indian Institute of Science researcher
13 Alokmay Datta Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics faculty
14 Amar Sapra Indian Institute of Management Bangalore faculty
15 Amit Apte International Centre for Theoretical Sciences faculty
16 Amit Basole Azim Premji University and UMass-Boston faculty
17 Amit Gupta Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore researcher
18 Amit Singh National Centre of Biological Sciences, TIFR, Bangalore student
19 Amitabh Bhattacharya Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay faculty
20 Amitabh Joshi Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research faculty
21 Amitabha Bandyopadhyay Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur faculty
22 Amrita laha Wildlife Institute of India researcher
23 Anand I National Institute of Technology Tiruchirapalli researcher
24 Anand Sasidharan Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore student
25 Ananth Kamath Indian Institute of Science student
26 Ananthu James Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scietific Research researcher
27 Ananyo Maitra LPTMS, France researcher
28 Angelie Multani Indian Institute of Technology Delhi faculty
29 Anilkumar KV Democratic Alliance for Knowledge Freedom Member
30 Anindita Bera University of Calcutta and Harish Chandra Research Institute student
31 Anindita Bidisha Chatterjee Wildlife Institute of India,Dehradun researcher
32 Anindita Brahma Indian Institute of Science researcher
33 Anindita Mitra University of Calcutta faculty
34 Anindya Banerji Jadavpur University, Kolkata student
35 Anindya Bhattacharya University of York faculty
36 Anirban Mukhopadhyay Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai faculty
37 Anu Krishna Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore student
38 Anubha Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore faculty
39 Anupama Mahajan National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore student
40 Anupama Potluri University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad faculty
41 Anupriya Chatterjee University of Calcutta faculty
42 Anwesa Bhattacharya Indian Institute of Science research associate
43 Apoorva Nagar Indian Institute of Space Science & Technology, Trivandrum faculty
44 Archisman Ghosh International Centre for Theoretical Sciences of TIFR researcher
45 Arijit Bishnu Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata faculty
46 Arijit Chatterjee Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
47 Aritra Bandyopadhyay Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
48 Arnab Kundu Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics faculty
49 Arnab Rai Choudhuri Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore faculty
50 Arpan Bhattacharyya Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
51 Arpan Maiti Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
52 Ashim Roy Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
53 Ashok Krishnan Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore researcher
54 Ashoke Sen Harish-Chandra Research Institute faculty
55 Ashvin Vishwanath University of California, Berkeley faculty
56 Asit K. De SINP Kolkata  
57 Aslamuddin TIFR-Hyderabad student
58 Atish Dabholkar International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy faculty
59 Atul Chokshi Indian Institute of Science faculty
60 Aurnab Ghose Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune faculty
61 Avishek Das Indian Institute of Science researcher
62 B Ananthanarayan Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore faculty
63 B.NIKHITH Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad student
64 Bhabani Deb University of Calcutta faculty
65 Bhanu Pratap Das Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan faculty
66 Bharathi Rajeswaran Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore researcher
67 Bhargav kumar IIT Hyderabad researcher
68 Bhavtosh Bansal Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata faculty
69 Bidisa Das Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science scientist
70 Bijoy John Mathew Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Thiruvananthapuram student
71 Bikram Phookun St Stephen’s College, Delhi faculty
72 Biman Nath Raman Research Institute faculty
73 Bindusar Sahoo Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Thiruvananthapuram faculty
74 Binu K Sasi International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Trieste, Italy researcher
75 Bipin C M Wildlife Institute of India researcher
76 Birenjith P S Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore researcher
77 Biswajit Banerjee Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
78 Bittu Karthik University of Hyderabad faculty
79 Carol Upadhya National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore faculty
80 Chandan Samanta Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore researcher
81 Chandana Anusha Yale University student
82 Chandra Kant Mishra International Centre for Theoretical Sciences researcher
83 Chandrashekar C M The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai faculty
84 Chandrashekar K A The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai researcher
85 Chetan Singh Solanki Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay faculty
86 Collins Assisi Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune faculty
87 D C V Mallik Indian Institute of Astrophysics faculty
88 D Parthasarathy Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay faculty
89 D.P.Sen Gupta National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore  
90 Daigy Varghese IIT Hyderabad student
91 Dattaraj Dhuri Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai researcher
92 Deb Sankar Banerjee Raman Research Institute student
93 Debabrata Phukon Tezpur University researcher
94 Debaditya Bhattacharya University of Calcutta faculty
95 Debadrita Ghosh Raman Research Institute student
96 Debarghya Banerjee Leiden University, The Netherlands researcher
97 Debasis Sengupta Indian Institute of Science faculty
98 Debraj Chakrabarti Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI, USA faculty
99 Deepa Agashe National Centre for Biological Sciences faculty
100 Deepak DSouza Indian Institute of Science Bangalore faculty
101 Deepak Malghan Indian Institute of Management Bangalore faculty
102 Deya Das Indian Institute of science researcher
103 Dileep Jatkar Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad faculty
104 Dinesh Mohan IIT Delhi faculty
105 Dipankar TREELabs, Mumbai faculty
106 Diptarup nandi Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore student
107 Durga Bhavani S University of Hyderabad faculty
108 E. Arunan Indian Institute of Science faculty
109 Farhana Ibrahim IIT, Delhi faculty
110 Feroz Musthafa Centre for Cellular and Molcular Platforms other
111 G Vijay University of Hyderabad faculty
112 Gaiti Hasan National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore faculty
113 Garga Chatterjee Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata faculty
114 Gaurav Mendiratta Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore student
115 Gautam Ganapathy Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay researcher
116 Geeta Mahashabde All India Peoples Science Network  
117 Geetam tiwari Indian Institute of Technology Delhi faculty
118 Gitanjali Yadav National Institute of Plant Genome Research, New Delhi faculty
119 Govindarajan T R Chennai Mathematical Institute, Chennai  
120 Gyan Bhanot Rutgers University, USA faculty
121 Haris Uzhunnan Christ University, Bangalore researcher
122 Harjinder Singh Indian Institute of Information Technology faculty
123 Himadri Shekhar Dhar Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad researcher
124 Hema Swaminathan Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore faculty
125 Hemant Belsare IIT Bombay researcher
126 Husna Jan Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Trivandrum student
127 Indrajit Tah TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences researcher
128 Ishani Sinha Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc, Bangalore researcher
129 Jayant Murthy Indian Institute of Astrophysics faculty
130 Jenny S Tata Institute of Social Sciences researcher
131 Jean Dreze Ranchi University faculty
132 Jishnu Sadasivan Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore student
133 Jishy Varghese Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research,Thiruvananthapuram faculty
134 Joby Joseph University of Hyderabad faculty
135 Joseph Samuel Raman Research Institute faculty
136 Jyoti Dalal JNCASR, Bangalore researcher
137 Jyotsna Jha Center for Budget and Policy Studies director
138 Kabir Husain National Centre for Biological Sciences, TIFR, Bangalore student
139 Kajari Gupta IISER Pune researcher
140 Kallol Paul TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences researcher
141 Kannan U.M Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad researcher
142 Karan N. Khirade Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad researcher
143 Kaushik Bhattacharya Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur faculty
144 Kazi Rafsanjani Amin Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore researcher
145 Kesavan Subburam TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences researcher
146 Koel Das Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata faculty
147 Koushik Dutta Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics faculty
148 Krishna Hanumanthu Chennai Mathematical Institute faculty
149 Krishna Maddaly The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai faculty
150 Kritika Agarwal Government Law College student
151 Kunal Joshi Ashoka University faculty
152 Kuntal Ghosh Indian Statistical Institute faculty
153 Kunal Sengupta University of Sydney faculty
154 M. V. Ramana Princeton University faculty
155 M. Vijayabaskar Madras Institute of Development Studies, chennai faculty
156 Madan Rao Raman Research Institute faculty
157 Madhukar S Raman Research Institute, Bangalore student
158 Madhusudan Roy Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics faculty
159 Madhusudhan Raman Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai researcher
160 Madhusudhan Venkadesan Yale University faculty
161 Maitreyee Saha Sarkar Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics faculty
162 Malancha Ta Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata Faculty
163 Manjari Gupta Indian Institute of Science researcher
164 Manjari Roy Wildlife Institute of India researcher
165 Manoj Gopalkrishnan Tata Institute of Fundamental Research faculty
166 Manoj Kummini Chennai Mathematical Institute faculty
167 Manoj Puravankara Tata Institute of Fundamental Research faculty
168 Manuj Mukherjee Indian Institute of Science student
169 Mihir Pandey Ramjas College (University of Delhi) faculty
170 Mithun Kumar Mitra Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay faculty
171 Monisha Bhattacharya National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research researcher
172 Mrinmoy Mukherjee TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences researcher
173 Mrunalini IIT Hyderabad researcher
174 Mugdha Sarkar Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
175 Myna V Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore researcher
176 N G Prasad Indian Institute of Science Education and Resarch Mohali faculty
177 N Purendra Prasad University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad faculty
178 N. Raghavendra Harish-Chandra Research Institute faculty
179 Nairit Sur Tata Institute of Fundamental Research researcher
180 Nairita Pal Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore student
181 Nandu Gopan Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research researcher
182 Naosad Alam Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
183 Narayanan Menon TIFR, Hyderabad faculty
184 Naresh Dadhich IUCAA, Pune faculty
185 Naveen Gaur Dayal Singh College (University of Delhi) faculty
186 Naveen Surendran Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiru’puram faculty
187 NC Narayanan Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay faculty
188 Neenu Suresh National Law School of India University researcher
189 Nihav Dhawale National Center for Biological Sciences and Yale University student
190 Nilanjan Sen University of Calcutta faculty
191 Nirmalendu Acharyya Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium researcher
192 Niruj Ramanujam National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Pune Scientific Officer
193 Nishaan Ponnuru Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education researcher
194 Nitin Rai Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment faculty
195 Oindrila Deb Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore researcher
196 Om Damani Indian Institute of Technology Bombay faculty
197 P Karuna Kumari IIT Hyderabad researcher
198 P.K Abdul Rahiman University of Madras, Chennai faculty
199 Palash Baran Pal Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics faculty
200 Papi Reddy Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore researcher
201 pappu acharya TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences student
202 Parasar Mohanty Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur faculty
203 Parswa Nath TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences junior research fellow
204 Partho Sarothi Ray Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata faculty
205 Pinaki Chaudhuri The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai faculty
206 Pooja Prasad Indian Institute of Technology Bombay student
207 Prabaha Gangopadhyay Indian Institute of Science student
208 Prabhu R Nott Indian Institute of Science faculty
209 Prajval Shastri Indian Institute of Astrophysics faculty
210 Prajwel Joseph Bishop Cotton W. C. C. Bangalore faculty
211 Prokash Kumar Kundu Indian Institute of Science student
212 Prasanta Char Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
213 Prathik CJ The Institute of Mathematical Sciences student
214 Prathyusha K. R. Universtiy of Dundee, United Kingdom researcher
215 Pratik Majumdar Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics faculty
216 Pravabati Chingangbam Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore faculty
217 Praveen S Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore student
218 Preethi Meher Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research Kalpakkam researcher
219 Preeti Kharb Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore faculty
220 Pritha Chandra Indian Institute of Technology Delhi faculty
221 Priya Mahadevan S.N.Bose Centre, Kolkata faculty
222 Priyanka Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scietific Research researcher
223 Probal Dasgupta Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata faculty
224 Procheta Mallik Innovation and Science Promotion Foundation researcher
225 Proteep Mallik Azim Premji University faculty
226 R Jayasimha Reddy IIT Hyderabad student
227 R.VIMALAVIDYA chennai  
228 Rafael Sorkin Raman Research Institute adjunt faculty
229 Raghunath J Indian Institute of Science student
230 Rahul De Azim Premji University faculty
231 Rahul De’ Indian Institute of Management Bangalore faculty
232 Rahul G R Indian Institute of Science student
233 Rahul Menon St Xavier’s College, Mumbai faculty
234 Rahul Pandey Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow visiting faculty
235 Rahul Siddharthan The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai faculty
236 Rahul Singh Indian Institute of Management Bangalore student
237 Rahul Varman IIT Kanpur faculty
238 Raj Kumar Manna IIT Madras researcher
239 Rajani Raman Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
240 Rajdeep Sensarma TIFR Mumbai faculty
241 Rajesh Gopakumar International Centre for Theoretical Sciences faculty
242 Raktim Abir Aligarh Muslim University faculty
243 Ramray Bhat Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore faculty
244 Ranjini Bandyopadhyay Raman Research Institute faculty
245 Ranjith Kallyani IIT Bombay researcher
246 Ravi Kunjwal The Institute of Mathematical Sciences researcher
247 Ravi Sankannavar Indian Institute of Technology Bombay researcher
248 Ravinder K Banyal Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore researcher
249 Reetika Khera IIT Delhi faculty
250 Resmi Lekshmi Indian Institute of Space Science & Technology, Trivandrum faculty
251 Reuben George Stephen National University of Singapore student
252 Rituparno Mandal Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore researcher
253 Rolla Das National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore researcher
254 Ron Sunny IISER-Pune researcher
255 S. Akshay Indian Institute of Technology Bombay faculty
256 S. M. Bhattacharjee Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar faculty
257 S.B.Balaji Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore student
258 S. P. Venkata Subbaiah IIT Hyderabad Scholar
259 S. Sundar Chennai Mathematical Institute faculty
260 Sabhyasachi Chatterjee All India Peoples Science Network president
261 Sachin M Dyal Singh College faculty
262 Sachindeo Vaidya Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore faculty
263 Safiul Alam Mollick Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar researcher
264 Saientan Bag Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore student
265 Saikat Ghosh Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur faculty
266 Sajad Ahmad Bhat Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
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268 Saman Habib Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow scientist
269 Sambo Sarkar IIT HYDERABAD student
270 Samriddhi Sankar Ray International Centre for Theoretical Sciences faculty
271 Sandeep Krishna National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research faculty
272 Sandesh Sanjay Gade PES Institute of Technology – Bangalore South Campus researcher
273 Sandip Varkey George Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune student
274 Sanjib Sabhapandit Raman Research Institute faculty
275 Sanjit Chatterjee IISc  
276 Sankar Basu Linkoping University, Sweden researcher
277 Santanu Das Raman Research Institute, Bangalore student
278 Saswati Ganguly HHU, Germany researcher
279 Saswati Sengupta Miranda House, University of Delhi faculty
280 Satyajit Chowdhury Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
281 Satyaki Mazumder Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata faculty
282 Saumia P S The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai researcher
283 Saurav Islam Indian Institute of Science student
284 Saurish Chakrabarty International Centre for Theoretical Sciences researcher
285 Savitha Suresh Babu National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore student
286 Sayantani Bhattacharyya Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur faculty
287 Shaik Faruk Azam University of Tokyo student
288 Shan S Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore researcher
289 Shanthi S.K. India Development Foundation, Gurgaon faculty
290 Sharad Lele Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment faculty
291 Sharath Ananthamurthy Bangalore University faculty
292 Sharmila Purkayastha Miranda House, University of Delhi faculty
293 Shikha Bisht Wildlife Institute of India researcher
294 Shiraz Minwalla Tata Institute of Fundamental Research faculty
295 Shiva Shankar Chennai Mathematical Institute faculty
296 Shivali Tukdeo National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore faculty
297 Shobha Madan IIT Kanpur faculty
298 Shubha Tewari TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences faculty
299 Shweta Dalal Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad student
300 Siddharth K J Indian Institute of Management Bangalore student
301 Siddhartha Chaudhuri Indian Institute of Technology Bombay faculty
302 Sirisha Naidu Wright Staet University, Dayton, Ohio faculty
303 Sitabhra Sinha The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai faculty
304 Sk Abdul faruque Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
305 Sk Raj Hossein Raman Research Institute, Bangalore student
306 Sk Sazim Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar researcher
307 S.K.Venkatesan TNQ Books and Journals Pvt. Ltd. chief scientist
308 Smarajit Karmakar TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Hyderabad faculty
309 Snehanshu Saha PES University faculty
310 Soling Zimik Indian Institute of Science researcher
311 Somyadip Thakur TIFR researcher
312 Soumitro Banerjee IISER Kolkata faculty
313 Soundarya Iyer National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore student
314 Sourav Kumar Dey Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics researcher
315 Souvik Mandal Indian Institute of Science student
316 Spenta Wadia International Centre for Theoretical Sciences of TIFR faculty
317 Sreejani Sen Majumder Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata student
318 Sreekrishna Varma Raja National Centre for Biological Sciences student
319 Sridhar Narayanan The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai researcher
320 Srikanth Sastry Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research faculty
321 Sruthi C K JNCASR,Bangalore student
322 Subhabrata Majumdar Tata Institute of Fundamental Research researcher
323 Subhadip Ghosh Institute Of Physics, Bhubaneswar researcher
324 Subham Rath Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore student
325 Subhankar Chakraborty All India People’s Science Network researcher
326 Subhashis Banerjee IIT Delhi faculty
327 Subhojoy Gupta Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore faculty
328 Subhradeep Mistry Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore researcher
329 Subhro Bhattacharjee International Centre for Theoretical Sciences faculty
330 Subramanya Hegde IISER Thiruvananthapuram student
331 Subroto Mukerjee Indian Institute of Science faculty
332 Suchetana Goswami S. N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata student
333 Sudakshina Ghosh University of Calcutta faculty
334 Sudip Banerjee Wildlife Institute of India researcher
335 Sudipto Muhuri Department of Physics, Savitribai Phule Pune University faculty
336 Suheel Mohammad Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad student
337 Suhita Nadkarni Indian Institute of Science Education and Research faculty
338 Sujay Basu Jadavpur University (Retd) Faculty
339 Sujay K Ashok Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai faculty
340 Sujith K. S. IISER Thiruvananthapuram student
341 Sumathi Rao Harish-Chandra Research Institute faculty
342 Sumati Surya Raman Research Institute faculty
343 Sumilan Banerjee Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel researcher
344 Sumit Haldar Indian Institute of Science,Bangalore researcher
345 Sumit Kumar International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, TIFR researcher
346 Sumit R. Das University of Kentucky, USA faculty
347 Sumithra Sankaran Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore student
348 Sundar S Chennai mathematical institute faculty
349 Sundar Sarukkai Manipal University faculty
350 Sunil Bharadwaj JNCASR, Bangalore student
351 Supratik Chakraborty Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay faculty
352 Supratim Sengupta Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata faculty
353 Surajit Sengupta TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences faculty
354 Suresh Govindarajan Indian Institute of Technology, Madras faculty
355 Sushma Mallik Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore faculty
356 Sutirth Dey IISER-Pune faculty
357 Sutirtha Dutta Wildlife Institute of India researcher
358 Suvrat Raju International Centre for Theoretical Sciences faculty
359 Swagato Sanyal Tata Institute of Fundamental Research student
360 T. V. H. Prathamesh Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai researcher
361 Tarun Deep Saini Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore faculty
362 Trilochan Sastry Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore faculty
363 Triparno Bandyopadhyay University of Calcutta researcher
364 Tulasi Ram Reddy Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore researcher
365 Vaibhhav Sinha National Centre for Biological Sciences student
366 Vaisakh V Indian Institute of Science researcher
367 Varuni Prabhakar Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai researcher
368 Venu Madhav Govindu Indian Institute of Science faculty
369 Vijay Ravikumar Chennai Mathematical Institute researcher
370 Vijayakumar Solaiselvam Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore student
371 Vikram Vyas St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University faculty
372 Vinod John Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore faculty
373 Vipul Vivek Tata Institute of Social Sciences student
374 Vishaka Datta S National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore student
375 Vishwesha Guttal Indian Institute of Science faculty
376 Vivek Monteiro All India Peoples Science Network  
377 VVNS Pradeep IIT Hyderabad researcher
378 Yogeshwar Prasad Indian Institute of Science researcher
379 Zaheer Ahmed Sayeed neurologist in Practise faculty
 
 
The New School in Solidarity with JNU
We, the undersigned, students, faculty, alumni, and staff at the New School University, New York, stand in solidarity with the students, staff, and faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in their protests against the militarization of the campus and suppression of dissent by anti-democratic and divisive Hindu nationalist groups allied with the Modi government.

We condemn the arrest and detention of JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, the criminalization of peaceful demonstration and healthy debate through the use of anti-democratic sedition laws, and the surveillance, intimidation, harassment of and outright brutality and use of force against members of the JNU community.

We condemn the Modi administration’s part in the complex of factors that led Ph.D. student Rohith Vemula to decide to end his life; we condemn the use of party machinery to expel and intimidate minority and marginalized students who are already underrepresented and face constant discrimination in an Indian university system that largely maintains and consolidates the power of upper caste Hindu elites; we condemn the blatant complicity of the police and mainstream media and the inflammatory statements made by Arnab Goswami, among others; and we condemn this latest attack on academia that the state has also opportunistically used to draw attention away from Dalit struggle on campuses and its part in expelling Rohith Vemula.

We affirm a shared transnational struggle to bring to light and address long legacies of colonialism, marginalization and erasure in our scholarship, institutions, and communities. We find the Indian government’s use of colonial era sedition laws deeply disturbing, and its use of anti-colonial rhetoric to demonize progressive politics manifestly hypocritical.

Recent statements by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of Education Smriti Irani are indicative of the fundamental opposition of the current regime to free thought and expression, and show the degree to which BJP politicians enjoy impunity for their part in the systematic suppression of dissent that the Modi administration and its associated complex of Hindu nationalist organizations has carried out since its rise to power. Student protests have been quashed, forestalled, and criminalized through the use of every tactic possible. ABVP chapters across campuses have orchestrated a concerted campaign of intimidation, aided by massive police complicity and the full support of state, police and media, to suppress talks, film screenings, and peaceful demonstrations, threaten and harass students, faculty and staff, and start smear campaigns condoning and inciting the use of violence against scholars deemed “anti-national”. The Modi government routinely targets scholars already made vulnerable by multiple axes of marginalization, seeking to silence their dissent at the expense of their safety and their lives.

The Modi government seeks to criminalize any disagreement with India’s undemocratic actions as “anti-national”. This “anti-nationalism” can only have meaning in relation to an imagined nation that is, at its core, fascist. Such a nation equates the peaceful expression of dissent with violence in order to justify its own brute force, creating a cycle that has no hope of ending when every avenue of democratic accountability is being systematically infiltrated or removed.

As members of a university that was founded on exile and resistance to fascism and that shares with JNU a fundamental commitment to justice, we stand with the courageous and inspiring protests at JNU and call on scholars and allies everywhere to do the same.
In solidarity,
  1. Jasveen Sarna, BA Literary Studies, Eugene Lang College
  2. Sabrina Garity, MFA Creative Writing Non Fiction
  3. Melissa Guerrero, Eugene Lang College
  4. Luis Herran Avila, PhD, Politics and History, The New School For Social Research
  5. Joshua Lacle, BA, Theater, Eugene Lang College
  6. Tamara Oyola-Santiago, Wellness and Health Promotion
  7. Ana Miljak, BA Literary Studies, Eugene Lang College
  8. Andrew P. Tucker, Design & Urban Ecologies
  9. Evangeline Scazzero, Journalism+Design Junior, Eugene Lang College
  10. Ryan Khosravi, BA, Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College
  11. Masoom Moitra, Student Co- Chair, Social Justice Committee, MS Design and Urban Ecologies, Parsons School of Design
As a co-chair of the Social Justice Committee at The New School, I strongly condemn these actions. They not only have a grave impact on the lives of students who have directly been targeted by the government, they have a long-term impact on the future of institutions that are supposed to  nurture and cultivate lovingly, the minds of students in the country. This is a massive betrayal. The concept of ‘sedition’ is obsolete and must be destroyed! This is an insult to the idea of a democracy!
  1. Geeti Das, PhD Candidate, Politics, The New School For Social Research
The attacks on Rohith Vemula, MM Kalburgi, Kanhaiya Kumar, FTII, and JNU are the actions of those who respond to their own fear by trying to create it in others. No student should find themselves left with only the hope of “knowing other worlds” because the one in which they find themselves so devalues their brilliance and their humanity. A just and democratic society can have no reason to meet peaceful dissent with brute force.
  1. Nihira Ram, Freshman, Eugene Lang College
  2. Kumar Kartik Amarnath, MS, Design and Urban Ecologies; School of Design Strategies; Parsons School of Design
  3. Jamie Piper, Screen Studies, Eugene Lang College, Sophomore
  4. Aliyah Hakim, BA, Theater, Eugene Lang College
  5. Mariana Bomtempo, School of Design Strategies
  6. Gamar Markarian, MS Design and Urban Ecologies, School of Design Strategies, Parsons
  7. Sascia Bailer, MA Theories of Urban Practice, Parsons
  8. Nicholas Allanach, Dir. of Academic Operations (& alumnus, 2006)
  9. Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor, Anthropology
  10. Kelsey Podaras, Eugene Lang College
  11. Adriana Herrera Perhamus, BA Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College
  12. Silvia Resende Xavier, MS Design and Urban Ecologies, School of Design Strategies, Parsons School of Design
  13. chris crews, Politics, New School for Social Research
An attack against one is an attack against all.
  1. Katyayani Dalmia, PhD Candidate, Anthropology, New School for Social Research
  2. FaDi Shayya, MA, Theories of Urban Practice
  3. J. Ricky Price, PhD Candidate Politics, New School for Social Research
  4. E Condon, BA/BFA dance/fine arts
  5. oona sullivan, BA, Psychology, Eugene Lang College
  6. Suhyun Choi, Fine Arts, Parsons School of Design
  7. Rachel Heiman, Associate Professor of Anthropology
  8. Horace Charles, Administrative Assistant, English Language Studies, NSPE (BA, 2015)
  9. Luis L., Philosophy
  10. Margarita Velasco, Politics, New School for Social Research (2008)
  11. Daniel Younessi, PhD
  12. Jawied Nawabi, MA in Economics (2008) and Ph.D in Sociology (2014)
  13. Lopamudra Banerjee, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, New School for Social Research
  14. Marielle Tejada Taveras, Sociology/Global Studies
  15. Rishabh Kumar, PhD Economics, New School for Social Research
  16. Tait Mandler, Design and Urban Ecologies, Parsons
  17. Kieran Gannon, MA, Theories of Urban Practice
  18. Jasmine Rault, Assistant Professor, Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College, The New School
  19. Alexandria Eisenbarth, Ph.D., Economics, New School for Social Research
  20. H Howell Williams, PhD candidate, New School for Social Research, Politics
  21. Brandon Fischer, Staff – SPE – GLUE (alumnus, 2015)
  22. Chelsea Ebin, PhD Politics, New School for Social Research
  23. Joel de Lara, Philosophy
  24. Issachar Curbeon Dieng, Global Studies
  25. Johanna Oksala, Visiting Professor, Department of Politics, The New School for Social Research
  26. Blair Bainbridge, MA, Anthropology
  27. Samuel Miller, MA
  28. Tamara Alvarez Fernandez, PhD Anthropology, New School for Social Research
  29. Cagla Orpen, PhD student in Politics and History, New School for Social Research
  30. Kevin Aportela-Flores, MA, Politics
  31. Soheil Asefi, Graduate student, Politics department, and Independent journalist and scholar at The New School for Social Research
  32. Michael Isaacson, Economics
  33. Alix Jansen, MA Politics, New School for Social Research
  34. Ilker Aslantepe, PhD, Economics, New School for Social Research
  35. Jackie Vimo, PhD Candidate, Politics, New School for Social Research
  36. Eli Nadeau, MA candidate, Politics 2016, MFA Creative Writing, 2013
  37. Alexandra Délano, Assistant Professor of Global Studies
  38. Susan Austin, Staff
  39. Franziska König-Paratore, PhD
  40. Eli Lichtenstein, MA in Philosophy
  41. Greig Roselli, MA, Philosophy, New School for Social Research
  42. Alex Altonji, MA Philosophy (2015)
  43. Ramaa Vasudevan, Visiting Scholar
  44. Sara Shroff, Phd Candidate, New School for Public Engagement
  45. Veronica Sousa, MA, Anthropology
  46. Julienne Obadia, Doctoral Candidate
  47. Christopher DellaCamera, Journalism
  48. Katherine Moos, PhD Student
  49. Amanda Zadorian, Ph.D. Candidate, Politics, NSSR
  50. Micha Steinwachs, BA (2015)
  51. George Fisher, Part-time faculty, Mannes School of Music
The right to peaceful dissent without punishment or harassment should belong to all people in civilized society.
  1. Rhea Rahman, PhD Candidate
  2. Rachel Knopf Shey, Assistant Director Wellness and Health promotion, Student Health Services
  3. Jonathan Bach, Associate Professor
  4. Kemi Soyeju, M.A. Psychology
  5. Douglas de Toledo Piza, PhD student, Sociology, New School for Social Research
Citizens Committee for the Defense of Democracy on the JNU Situtation
Guest Post by Citizens Committee for the Defense of Democracy

The Citizens Committee for the Defense of Democracy strongly condemns the clampdown in Jawaharlal Nehru University. We deplore the targeting of students and teachers and condemn the culture of authoritarian menace that the Central Government has unleashed.  We strongly believe that dissent is not sedition and invoking sedition laws against students, ordering the police to enter the campus and unlawfully arresting a student leader, issuing warrants against many others on charges of inciting violence, attacking students, teachers and arrested student in the court premises, are serious assault on the fundamental rights of the citizens of this country.  The right to dissent is fundamental to maintaining democracy and the recent developments have shaken the foundations of democracy. We condemn the indiscriminate use of the colonial law of sedition on dissenting voices.

The attack on JNU is an attack on our diversity, on public funding of universities and access to higher education for the common people. The vicious campaign of ‘tax-payers’ monies funding the anti-nationals’ is highly regressive and malicious.   It is only through public funding and reservation policies that access to higher education has been expanded for students from all backgrounds, especially girl students from poorer backgrounds. It is public funding which makes higher education accessible to many.

We are pained and angry that a public institution of higher learning has been attacked with such viciousness, systematically and calculatedly.  JNU offers a vibrant space for learning, questioning, debating and developing a political understanding of structural injustices.

We are extremely concerned that the police is completely turned into a silent spectator as students, teachers and activists are publicly assaulted and abused, and hate and violence is incited against agitating students.  The police is openly issuing such loaded statements, which law abiding citizens perceive as threatening. To disagree and question is every citizen’s right and the JNU students are only exercising their right, peacefully and with utmost restraint and civility.

We are particularly concerned about the safety of our young women and men students who are being intimidated by the University administration, police and the marauding mobs which have been unleashed on the students in the vicinity of JNU and in and around the Court where cases against accused student is being heard.

We deplore the labeling of “anti-national” of those who are exercising their democratic right of challenging the majoritarian orthodoxy.  We believe that this will render this country intellectually poorer if critical thinking is pushed to a space which is reserved for the enemy.

We condemn sections of the visual and print media for their open partisanship, irresponsible coverage, misreporting, and blacking out news and views of the striking students.

We feel it is time for all thinking people of this city to come together and raise our collective voices in defense of academic freedom, right to dissent and defend the spaces for democratic dissent.

We unequivocally demand that

All cases and charges should be withdrawn against all JNU students immediately and unconditionally. The matter should have been handled by a responsible committee internal to JNU, with a fair representation of teachers, rather than calling in the police.

The administration of JNU should be held accountable for dereliction of duty, collaborating with the Police in falsely charging the students, enabling the police to search university premises and hostels and arrest students at the expense of internal processes and without consulting the university faculty and office bearers. The University administration’s bowing to the government pressure compromised University autonomy with serious implications for the careers of students and prospects of pursuing degrees.
No police should be allowed to enter the campus and all plainclothes police be removed from the campus immediately.

No University premises including the hostels should be checked by anyone other than the university administration and only in the presence of the wardens.

Delhi police should restrain the menacing gangs roaming about in the vicinity of JNU intimidating the students, teachers and solidarity groups. We demand that rather than unleashing these mobs on the University community with a malicious intent, effective steps should be taken to prevent such mobs from indulging in mischief.

Police should act responsibly, performs its duty and ensures safety of the students, teachers and solidarity groups in courts and in public spaces and allow them to exercise their lawful rights of voicing their concerns.

Romila Thapar, Krishna Sobti, Harbans Mukhia, Harsh Mander, Navsharan Singh, Nalini Taneja, Asad Zaidi, Mangalesh Dabral, Subhash Gatade, Uma Chakravarty, Syeda Hameed; Sukumar Muralidharan, Prabir Purkayastha, Puneet Bedi, Rahul Roy, Saba Dewan, Urvashi Butalia, Tapan Bose, Nandita Narain, Peggy Mohan, Farah Naqvi, Neeraj Malik, Javed Malik, Jawrimal Parakh, Devaki Jain, Dinesh Mohan, Prabhat Patnaik, Bharat Bhushan, Dunu Roy, Jean Dreze, Tanika Sarkar, Sumit Sarkar, Warisha Farasat, Seema Mustafa, Farida Khan, Salil Mishra,
University of Texas Students and Faculty stand with JNU
We, the undersigned, students, scholars, and faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, stand in solidarity with the students, faculty, and staff at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi against the illegal and unconscionable crackdown by police. We demand an immediate end to all police action on campus, a withdrawal of all frivolous charges against the President of JNU Students’ Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, and other students, as well as an end to the campaign of harassment and intimidation against students at the university. With them, we affirm the autonomy of the university as a non-militarized space for freedom of thought and expression. Accordingly, we condemn police presence on campus and the harassment of students on the basis of their political beliefs. 

We believe that these actions by the Indian state and its associated groups and institutions are part of a larger campaign to stifle dissenting voices in the country, especially on university campuses which have persistently resisted the capitalist, Brahmanical hegemony of the current government. This was clearly evident in the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD student at Hyderabad Central University (HCU) last month. The similarity of the modus operandi in Hyderabad and Delhi is striking: Rohith and his comrades had been accused of ‘anti-national’ activities for their condemnation of the hanging of Yakub Memon, and suspended from their academic positions on these undemocratic grounds. Similar charges have been framed against the students of JNU for organizing an event in solidarity with the struggle of Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination. To make matters murkier, it is now certain that at the event, which also marked the third anniversary of the execution of Afzal Guru, the ABVP was involved in raising the controversial slogans that are being cited to justify the sedition charge. We are of the firm opinion that protesting against state violence is a fundamental right that must not become vulnerable to arbitrary violation by governments, police and university administrations.

We believe that the colonial-era laws of sedition — already diluted and read down by the Supreme Court — are an embarrassment to India’s democratic principles. The criminalization of dissent in this case reveals how India’s current political leadership has been unable to respect diversity and guarantee the full legal rights of its people. Its political program imagines the citizen as upper caste, heterosexual, male, Hindu; its economic program necessitates a blind faith in neoliberalism; and its social program continually imagines an enemy – the Muslim, the Dalit, the Left. It is not surprising that a government so debilitated and blinkered by its ideological narrowness has invoked the charge of sedition and sent police forces into the JNU campus, an action reminiscent of the worst years of Emergency.

We are also distressed by views expressed in certain sections of the Indian media regarding the legitimacy of political activism in public universities. This argument claims that since central and state governments subsidize education in public institutions, it is the responsibility of beneficiaries to refrain from critiquing state policies and to solely prioritize their studies. We firmly reject this cost-benefit understanding of education as shallow, apolitical, and deeply reactionary. As the saying goes, ‘education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’. The current administration and sections of the media would prefer students to remain uncritical of the violence of Brahmanism, communalism, and neoliberal capitalism. But the Rohiths of the world will keep lighting a fire and keep burning down bigotry. We believe that both public education and free speech are fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution, rights that have been earned through long struggle and rights that we will keep fighting for in India and elsewhere as we face systematic neoliberal onslaughts on dissent and education.

To our friends, colleagues and comrades in JNU, HCU, FTII and elsewhere, we stand with you in your resistance against state sponsored violence, which curbs any form of dissent on the one hand, and on the other, condones hate speech by Hindu nationalists. We believe that scholarship and the concomitant development of our critical faculties should be used in dreaming of and implementing a better, pluralistic and just society.
 
  1. Charlotte Giles, PhD Student, Department of Asian Studies
  2. Snehal Shingavi, Associate Professor, Department of English
  3. Ramna Walia, PhD Student, Department of Radio-Television-Film
  4. Adolfo R Mora, PhD Student, Department of Radio-Television-Film
  5. Madiha Haque, MA Student, Department of Asian Studies
  6. Saif Shahin, PhD Candidate, School of Journalism
  7. Saleha Parvaiz, MA Student, Department of Asian Studies
  8. Rupali Warke, Phd Student, History Department
  9. Kathleen Longwaters, PhD Student, Department of Asian Studies
  10. Rubi Sanchez, PhD Student, Department of Asian Studies
  11. Claire Cooley, PhD Student, Department of Middle Eastern Studies
  12. Justin Ben-Hain, PhD Student, Department of Asian Studies
  13. Afsar Mohammad, Senior Lecturer, Department of Asian studies
  14. Aniruddhan Vasudevan, PhD Student, Department of Anthropology
  15. JhuCin Jhang, PhD Student, Department of Communication Studies
  16. Julia Dehm, Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Law
  17. Charlotte Nunes, UT English Graduate, Postdoctoral Fellow, Southwestern University
  18. Zack Shlachter, PhD Student, Department of History
  19. Seth Uzman, Undergraduate, Department of Mathematics, Department of Economics
  20. Abikal Borah, PhD Student, Department of History
  21. Charalampos Minasidis, PhD Student, Department of History
  22. Sam Lauber, Undergraduate, Department of Computer Science
  23. Heather Houser, Associate Professor, Department of English
  24. Robert Oppenheim, Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies
  25. Barbara Harlow, Professor, Department of English
  26. Yoalli Rodríguez Aguilera, PhD Student, Institute of Latin American Studies
  27. Tathagatan Ravindran, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology
  28. Prisca Gayles, PhD Student, Institute of Latin American Studies
  29. Jack Loveridge, PhD Candidate, Department of History
  30. Chloe L. Ireton, Department of History
  31. Luis Cataldo, undergraduate, Department of English
  32. Swapnil Rai, PhD Candidate, School of Communication
  33. Heather Hindman, Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies
  34. Magdalena Saldaña, PhD Student, School of Journalism
  35. Danielle Kilgo, PhD Candidate, School of Journalism
  36. Kristen Hogan, Education Coordinator, Gender & Sexuality Center
  37. Robert Jensen, Professor, School of Journalism
  38. Ryan Sharp, PhD Student, Department of English
  39. Elizabeth Picherit, PhD Student, Department of English
  40. Regina Mills, PhD Student, Department of English
  41. Isaac McQuistion, Masters Student, Department of Asian Studies
  42. Hannah V. Harrison, PhD Student, Department of English
  43. Kristie Flannery, PhD Candidate, Department of History
  44. Omer Ozcan, PhD Candidate,Department of Anthropology
  45. Nikola Rajic, PhD Candidate, Department of Asian Studies
  46. Mohammed Nabulsi, JD Candidate, School of Law
  47. Jason Brownlee, Professor, Department of Government
  48. Noah De Lissovoy, Associate Professor, College of Education
  49. Martha Ann Selby, Professor and Chair, Department of Asian Studies
  50. Amrita Mishra, PhD Student, Department of English
  51. Morgan C. O’Brien, Ph.D candidate, Department of Radio-Television- Film
  52. Tupur Chatterjee, Ph.D Candidate, Department of Radio-Television-Film
  53. John Morán González, Associate Professor, Department of English
  54. Colleen Montgomery, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Radio-Television-Film
  55. Caitlin McClune, Ph.D Candidate, Department of Radio-Television-Film
  56. Shilpa Parnami, PhD Candidate, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  57. Jinsook Kim, PhD Student, Department of Radio-Television-Film
  58. Abdul Haque Chang, PhD alum, Department of Anthropology
  59. Pete Kunze, PhD Student, Department of Radio-Television-Film
Bangalore Research Network’s Letter of Solidarity with JNU
We, the undersigned members of the Bangalore Research Network and a consortium of academics and researchers from Bangalore, declare our solidarity with the students and faculty of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi protesting the illegal police arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition. We unequivocally stand by them in affirming that universities are autonomous spaces for the free expression of a plurality of beliefs and cannot become military spaces of thought control that go against the very grain of a democratic society.  With them, we condemn the blatantly authoritarian attempt by the police and the central government to witch hunt students on the basis of their political beliefs. We also condemn the unethical media trial of JNU students such as Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid.

In a speech that is now widely available on the internet, Kanhaiya Kumar spoke critically of the BJP government policies at a peaceful student meeting held at JNU which was well within his rights by the laws of the land.  This occurred a day after a group of unidentified students shouted slogans at an event that he had no part in organizing.  Legal luminaries have opined that those slogans about the rights of Kashmiris to independence from Indian military oppression over the last few decades, whether one might agree with them or not, do not amount to sedition.  Kanhaiya Kumar was, however, arrested by the police for ‘anti-national’ behaviour and for violating sedition laws against incitement of violence.  With no proof to substantiate the charge of sedition, his arrest can only be read as a reflection of the authoritarian nature of the current Indian government and its intolerance to any dissent. JNU is but the latest example of attempts to stifle dissenting student voices in university campuses across India, including others at FTII, BHU and University of Hyderabad. This is reflective of the current climate where higher education is being viewed as purely instrumental, captured by the logics of the neoliberal state and capital.

As researchers, scholars, and academics, we are extremely concerned with the manner in which the ruling government has so blatantly set aside India’s longstanding commitment to plurality in belief. The space and freedom to express diverse and divergent beliefs and opinions are the foundations for critical thought and expression that university spaces cultivate. We urge the Vice Chancellor of JNU, who gave the police permission to wrongfully detain and arrest JNU students, to recognize the momentum of support building up for them and to immediately step in to safeguard their rights.
Dated: February 22, 2016

Signatures in alphabetical order
  1. Abeer Kapoor, Alumnus, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  2. Abhishek Hazra, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore
  3. Aditi Arur, Consultant, J-PAL South Asia, Bangalore
  4. Amman Madan, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
  5. Andrea Wright, Department of Anthropology, Brown University, Rhode Island
  6. Anjali Shivanand, Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, Bangalore
  7. Aparna Sundar, Visiting Faculty, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  8. Andaleeb Rahman, Postdoctoral Fellow, Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore
  9. Anwesa Bhattacharya, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  10. Archit Guha, Centre for Public History, Bangalore
  11. Asha Verma, Alumnus, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  12. Ashwin, Independent Researcher, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  13. Atreyee Majumder, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  14. Avishek Ray, NIT Silchar
  15. Bitasta Das, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  16. Debjani Banerjee, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore
  17. Devaki, L., Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  18. Dhruva Desai, Alumnus, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  19. Elizabeth Thomas, Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore
  20. Gayatri Menon, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  21. Garima Jain, Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore
  22. Girija K P, Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore
  23. Gowri Vijayakumar, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
  24. Hemangini Gupta, Department of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, Colby College, Maine
  25. Issac Arul Selva, Human Rights Activist, Bangalore
  26. Jasmeen Patheja , Blank Noise.
  27. Jyothsna Belliappa, Bengaluru
  28. Kanthi Krishnamurthy, Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore
  29. Kavya Murthy, Bangalore
  30. Kinnari Pandya, Azim Premji University, Benguluru
  31. K Ravichandran, Student, Azim Premji University , Bangalore
  32. Lakshmi Arya, Independent scholar and writer, Bangalore
  33. Lata Mani, Independent Researcher, Bengaluru
  34. Lindsay Vogt, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara
  35. Madhu Bhushan, Independent (re)searcher-activist, Bangalore
  36. Manisha Anantharaman, Justice Community and Leadership, Saint Mary’s College of California
  37. Maia Barkaia,(JNU, 2010), Tbilisi State University (Tbilisi) and University of Oxford, Oxford.
  38. Manu V. Mathai, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  39. Muthatha Ramanathan, Bangalore
  40. Navdeep Mathur, IIM Ahmedabad
  41. Narendra Raghunath, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore
  42. Neenu Suresh, National Law School of India University, Bangalore
  43. Nikunja S. Bhuyan, Student, Azim Premji University, Bangalore.
  44. Nimisha Agarwal, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore
  45. Nitya V, Bengaluru
  46. Padma Baliga, St. Joseph’s College, Bengaluru
  47. Padmini Ray Murray, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore
  48. Pallavi Gaur, Student, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  49. Pooja Sagar, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore
  50. P. P. Sneha, Bangalore
  51. Prakriti Prajapati, Researcher, ATREE, Bengaluru
  52. Pranesh Prakash, Bangalore
  53. Preeti Kharb, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore
  54. Rajeev Kumaramkandath, Christ University, Bengaluru
  55. Rameshwara Nand Jha, Alumnus, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  56. Rashmi Sawhney, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore
  57. Renny Thomas (JNU 2015), Department of Sociology, Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi
  58. Riddhi Pandey, Student, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  59. Robert M Geraci, Manhattan College (former Visiting Scholar at IISc), New York
  60. Rolla Das, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore
  61. Sanam Roohi, NIAS, Bangalore and AISSR, University of Amsterdam
  62. Sarah Jacobson, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  63. Savitha Suresh Babu, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore
  64. Sahil Sasidharan, Associate – Academics & Research, IIHS, Bangalore/Bengaluru
  65. Sazana Jayadeva, The German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg
  66. Scott Sorrell, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University, New York
  67. Sharad Sure, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  68. Sharmadip Basu, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  69. Shoibal Chakravarty, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore
  70. Shreyas Sreenath, Department of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta
  71. Shreyas Srivatsa, Urban Planner & Architect, Bangalore
  72. Shrishtee Bajpai, Alumnus, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  73. Shruti Ajit, Researcher, Kalpavriksh, Pune
  74. Simy Joy, Independent Researcher, Ely, England
  75. Smriti Srinivas, NAGARA, Bangalore
  76. Soundarya Iyer, Student, NIAS, Bangalore
  77. Sreechand Tavva, Post Graduate Student, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  78. Sreeparna Chattopadhyay, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  79. Subadra Panchanadeswaran, Adelphi University, New York
  80. Subir Rana, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore
  81. Sufaid V, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  82. Sunandan, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  83. Sunayana Ganguly, Independent researcher and entrepreneur, Bangalore
  84. Suraj Jacob, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  85. Tarang Singh, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  86. Tathagata Biswas. Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  87. Vasanthi Mariadass, Srishti Institute for Art Design and Technology, Bangalore
  88. V R Vachana, Alumna, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  89. Vidhya Raveendranathan, Centre For Modern Indian Studies, Georg- August- University, Gottingen, Germany
  90. Vikas Maniar, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  91. Vinay K Sreenivasa, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore
  92. Vineeta, Alumnus, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  93. Vineeth Krishna E, Centre for Law and Policy Research, Bangalore
  94. Vivek Mishra, Alumnus, Azim Premji Univerisity, Bangalore
  95. Vrashali Khandelwal, Student, Azim Premji University, Bangalore
Statement of Solidarity with Students in JNU, India – by students in KU Leuven, Belgium
We, the undersigned, students in the social sciences and humanities programs at KU Leuven, strongly condemn the Indian state’s heavy handed and politically motivated action against the students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi.

We condemn the brutal police action against students, especially the arrest of JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) president, Kanhaiya Kumar on 12 February 2016 – who has been charged under colonial-era sedition laws. We equally condemn the witch-hunt against and media trials against JNU, its faculty, and its students – especially Umar Khalid, an atheist-Leftist activist, who is wrongfully being called an ‘Islamist’ by some in the media.

Over the last few months, Indian universities have become a crucial site to contest and resist the arbitrary and concerted efforts of the Indian state to quash academic autonomy and dissent – from the scrapping of non-NET fellowships in 2015, to the death of Dalit PhD scholar Rohith Vemula at the Hyderabad Central University, earlier in January.

We underscore the fact that universities have historically been sites of critical thinking and politics, and need to remain the same. Furthermore, as the recent cases in India have shown, it is often students from under-privileged backgrounds who raise critical questions against the workings of the state, and also question structures of privilege within universities, in peaceful and non-violent ways.

The government and police action against the students at JNU seriously undermines and threatens these values. These (re)actions are based on questionable facts and charges of anti-nationalism and sedition. Indeed, no is within the space of the university that ideas of the ‘nation’ – who is included within it, and who is excluded – can be questioned and debated.

We join Kanhaiya Kumar and other Indian students in reaffirming the secular and liberal values of India’s Constitution, and the legacy of leaders like B.R. Ambedkar, and reject the hyper-national rhetoric that is running amok.
We stand by values of academic autonomy, freedom of expression and the right to dissent in a peaceful and non-violent manner, even as these are under siege in JNU.
We extend our support and solidarity to our fellow colleagues and peers in JNU and other Indian universities.
 18 February 2016
Proshant Chakraborty
Julio Ignacio Rodriguez
Alex Govers Lopez
Lore Janssens
Tena Lavrencic
Joanna Rychlicka
Tanima Chatterjee
Samarjit Mukherjee
Emma Carpenter
Christine Verbruggen
María Rodríguez
Veronique Joncas
Ilaria Monfroni
Anisa Loli
Livia Ferbinteanu
Sébastien Libert
Krishna S
 
#NoDissentNoCountry #StandWithJNU

Williams College Stands with JNU!



Kajri Jain, University of Toronto


Aarti Sethi, (JNU 2009), Columbia University
Letter of Solidarity from International Association of Women in Radio and Television (India Chapter) for JNU
We the undersigned, from the India Chapter of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT), would like to place on record our solidarity with the students and teachers of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). We find the recent events that have taken place in JNU –  arrest of the JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition, and a lookout by the police for several other students who allegedly raised anti-national slogans – extremely disturbing. We also feel that the use of the sedition law, which was enacted by British colonial government, draconian and has no place in India. A fundamental principle in a democracy is the right to free speech. Article 19 of the Indian Constitution grants it as a fundamental right, and the Indian courts have recognised this in the past, including in the case of Balwant Singh vs. State of Punjab. In this context, the framing of charges against the students of JNU is unacceptable, and should have no place in a democratic society.

The events in JNU are a continuation of the systematic attack on students in various campuses across the country by the ruling party and its student-wing, the ABVP. From the ban on the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle in IIT-Madras (the ban was eventually lifted), to appointing people not necessarily qualified in various administrative posts at the Film and Television Institute in India (FTII), to the attack and suspension of Dalit students in the Hyderabad Central University (HCU), which eventually led to the suicide of Rohith Vemula, there has been an increasing attempt at controlling students on campuses by the BJP and its affiliates, the ABVP and the RSS.
 
In many instances, the ruling government has used the State machinery, including that of the police, to carry out its agenda, either through intimidation or inaction – the attack by lawyers on Kanhaiya Kumar while he was produced in Patiala House in police presence, or the intimidation of lawyers Shalini Gera, Isha Khandelwal and journalist Malini Subramanian of scroll.in in Chhattisgarh, who are being forced to leave Jagdalpur due to continual police threat and intimidation, are examples of this.
 
We fear that this environment that has been created by the State and some members of the media fraternity, where labels like “anti-national” and “traitor” are freely thrown around, is creating an atmosphere of fear and will suppress voices of dissent. Many media houses have been filing stories and conducting debates that do not adhere to basic principles of journalistic practices. The strength of a democratic nation is its ability to give space to its dissenters, as also to those who raise questions about the excesses of the State and about what the idea of a nation-state means. The fundamental right to free speech and dissent has been guaranteed to the citizens of India by the Constitution and cannot be violated for any political agenda if we are to remain a vibrant democracy.
 
We, the members of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT), India, demand:
 
1) JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar be immediately released
2) Stop the witch-hunt against Umar Khalid and other students of JNU
3) Segments of the media have been whipping up mass hysteria against students of JNU. They should be reined in by their own Press Councils and Broadcast Associations.
4) Repeal Section 124(A) of the Indian Penal Code


Aaradhna Kohli, Independent Filmmaker
Ananya Chakraborti, Filmmaker, Film Teacher, Activist
Anjali Monteiro, Academic and Filmmaker, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Anupama Chandra, Film Editor and Director
Anupama Srinivasan, Filmmaker
Archana Kapoor, Managing Trustee, IAWRT, Filmmaker and Radio Producer
Bina Paul
Geeta Sahai, Media Professional
Iffat Fatima, Independent Documentary Filmmaker
Iram Ghufran, Independent Filmmaker
Kavita Joshi, Filmmaker and Media Trainer
Mallika Sarabhai
Nina Sabnani
Nupur Basu, Journalist and Media Educator
Padmaja Shaw
Priya Goswami
Priyanka Chhabra, Filmmaker
Radha Misra, Academic
Reena Mohan, Filmmaker and Editor
Renuka Sharma
Samina Mishra, Independent Filmmaker and Writer
Sania Farooqui, Journalist
Shikha Jhingan
Smriti Nevatia, Film Festival curator, Researcher and Writer, Text Editor
Subasri Krishnan, Filmmaker
Teena Gill, Filmmaker and Development Consultant
Uma Chakravarti, Feminist Historian and Filmmaker
Uma Tanuku
Vani Subramanian, Filmmaker and Women’s Rights Activist
Yashodara Udupa, Filmmaker
Vaidehi Chitre
Mausumi Bhattacharya
Leena Manimekalai
Chandita Mukherjee
University of Minnesota Stands in Solidarity with Jawaharlal Nehru University
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We, the undersigned at the University of Minnesota, strongly condemn the concerted attack on the students, faculty and academic culture of Jawaharlal Nehru University. At the behest of the government, the Delhi police has pressed sedition charges on unnamed students of the university. Reminiscent of the Emergency, the students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar has been arrested, several students have been suspended and the Delhi police has been hounding students in hostels, homes as well as public spaces in the city. Sections of the mainstream media have launched a vicious campaign to declare JNU an “anti-national” university, and some journalists have gone so far as to spin lies about the “terrorist connections” of student activist Umar Khalid. As a consequence, mob violence against JNU students and faculty has spread across the city and even entered the courtrooms where the case against the JNU students’ union president was being heard. We strongly condemn this hate campaign and demand the immediate release of the JNU students’ union president. We also demand that the suspension of students is revoked and unsubstantiated sedition charges are withdrawn immediately.

This move by the RSS-BJP combine is one among a series of attacks on the autonomy of educational institutions in India, and the very idea of education and democratic political participation. By pressing charges of sedition and violently clamping down on the right to dissent, the government has demonstrated an utter disregard for democratic practice and the law. This erosion of public value is evident in the slew of messages circulating on social media criticizing the “waste” of taxpayers’ money for funding students’ “anti-national” activities, rather than their education. This artificial separation between education and politics, the narrowing down of education to merely an economic activity, and a simplistic conception of democratic political participation are symptomatic of the neoliberal vision of this government. Evidently, the government is invested in strengthening such notions among the public by spreading propaganda which reduces JNU to an “anti-national” university. This maligning of student politics also serves the agenda of discrediting their dissent against the government which has been rapidly gaining steam in universities across India.

In the face of this attack, JNU students and teachers have come together in an admirable show of strength, courage, resilience and love for their university. Their movement is not only defending the idea of JNU, but of freedom and democracy in India. Far from being a hub of “anti-nationals,” the movement has demonstrated that JNU has nurtured the most progressive ideas of nationalism. We lend our support to this movement and #StandWithJNU in solidarity with their fight against state repression and the government’s onslaught on the university.

Signed by:

K Rahul Sharma, Graduate student, Public Affairs.
Kriti Budhiraja, Graduate student, Sociology.
Anuradha Sajjanhar, Graduate student, Sociology.
Trupti Sarode, Graduate student, Public Affairs.
Siddharth Bharath Iyengar, Graduate student, Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour.
Suvadip Sinha, Faculty, Asian Languages and Literatures.
Quynh Pham, Graduate student, Political Science.
Professor Susan Parnell, Faculty, University of Cape Town.
Erik Kojola, Graduate student, Sociology.
Keavy McFadden, Graduate student, Geography.
Ethan Johnson, Graduate student, Sociology.
Lorenzo Fabbri, Faculty, French and Italian.
Eric Goldfischer, Graduate student, Geography.
V. Ganeshananthan, Faculty, Creative Writing, English.
Harshit Rathi, Graduate student, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.
Soham Patel, Graduate student, American Studies.
Jigna Desai, Faculty, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies.
Akshya Saxena, Graduate student, Comparative Literature.
Ananya Chatterjea, Faculty, Liberal Arts/Theatre Arts and Dance.
Victoria Piehowski, Graduate student, Sociology.
Baryon Tensor Posadas, Faculty, Asian Languages and Literatures.
Erin Trapp, Faculty, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.
Yagmur Karakaya, Graduate student, Sociology.
Shan Kothari, Graduate student, Plant Biology.
Lauren Mitchell, Graduate student, Psychology.
Shruti, Alumnus, Humphery.
Nithya Rajan, Graduate student, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies.
Stephen Cho Suh, Graduate student, Sociology.
Graeme Stout, Staff, CLA – Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.
Thorn Chen, Graduate student, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.
Sravanthi Kollu, Graduate student, Asian Languages and Literatures.
Christine Marran, Faculty, Asian Languages and Literature.
Courtney Gildersleeve, Graduate student, Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature.
Brit C. Henderson, Graduate student, Sociology.
Jeff Stolley, Undergraduate student, College of Biological Science.
Gloria Goodwin Raheja, Faculty, CLA/Anthropology.
Nicholas Goldsmith, Graduate student, Ecology Evolution and Behavior.
Miray Philips, Graduate student, Sociology.
Ajay Skaria, Faculty, History.
Sonali Pahwa, Faculty, Theatre Arts & Dance.
Jacqui Frost, Graduate student, Sociology.
Jen Merrill, Alumnus, Liberal Arts.
Britt Van Paepeghem, Graduate student, Anthropology.
Rachel Schaff, Graduate student, Cultural studies and comparative literature.
Erin Dyke, Graduate student, College of Education and Human Development/Department of Curriculum & Instruction.
Isabel Arriagada, Graduate student, Sociology.
Sungok Hong, Faculty, Asian Languages and Literatures.
Richa Nagar, Faculty, College of Liberal Arts/ Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies.
Sarah Garcia, Graduate student, Sociology.
Heider Tun, Graduate student, College of Liberal Arts.
Anindita Chatterjee, Graduate student, Department of geography, environment and society.
Julie Santella, Graduate student, Geography, Environment and Society.
Kathleen Hull, Faculty, Sociology.
Devika Narayan, Graduate student, Sociology.
Emily Durham, Graduate student, Asian Languages and Literatures.
Jennifer Jodell, Graduate student, CLA/English.
Joe Getzoff, Graduate student, CLA/ Geography.
Naomi Scheman, Faculty, CLA/Philosophy.
Soyi Kim, Graduate student, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.
Rachel Kaelberer Mattson, Graduate student, Political Science.
Natalia Vargas Márquez, Graduate student , Art History.
Melinda Kernik, Graduate student, Geography, Environment, and Society.
Alex Manning, Graduate student, Sociology.
Spencer Cox, Graduate student, College of Liberal Arts, Geography, Environment and Society.
Mayank Kohli, Graduate student, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior.
Rye Gentleman, Graduate student, Theatre Arts and Dance.
Abraham Seda, Graduate student, College of Liberal Arts.
Stacey Brumbaugh-Johnson, Graduate student, Sociology.
Allison Nobles, Graduate student, Sociology.
Jacqueline Daigneault, Graduate student, Geography.
Simi Kang, Graduate student, Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies.
Maria Mendez, Graduate student, Political Science.
David Lemke, Graduate student, English.
Lalit Batra, Graduate student, Geography, Environment and Society.
Michael Goldman, Faculty, CLA, Sociology/Global Studies.
Koel Banerjee, Graduate student, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.
Alex Steele, Graduate student, History.
Ketaki Jaywant, Graduate student, History.
Aditi Chandra , Alumnus, Art History.
Matt Gunther, Graduate student, Sociology.
Aisha Upton, Graduate student, Sociology.
Andrew Fang, Graduate student, Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
David Faust, Staff, University Libraries.
Mark Martinez, Alumnus, Communication Studies.
Rajyashree N Reddy, Alumnus, Geography.
Nina Asher, Faculty, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Peter Harle, Staff, College of Liberal Arts.
Ann Meier, Faculty, College of Liberal Arts/ Sociology.
Mishy Roy, Graduate student, UMN Medical School.
Nadim Asrar, Alumnus, Asian Languages and Literatures.
Ashfaqul Chowdhury , Graduate student, Humphrey School.
Rahsaan Mahadeo, Graduate student, Sociology.
Catherine McKay, Graduate student, Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Kirsten Henry, Graduate student, UMN School of Public Health.
Bruce Braun, Faculty, Geography, Environment and Society, College of Liberal Arts.
Gretchen Gasterland-Gustafsson, Alumnus, Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society.
Timothy Brennan, Faculty, College of Liberal Arts/Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature.
Kate Thompson, Staff, Institute on the Environment.
Zachary Patterson, Graduate student, Department of Sociology.
Ashwini, Graduate student, Geography.
Sarah Saddler , Graduate student, Department of Theatre.
Ateeb Ahmed, Graduate student, Geography Environment and Society.
Sarah Catherine Billups, Graduate student, Sociology.
John Little, Graduate student, CLA/History.
Ryan Steel, Graduate student, Sociology.
Lisa Gulya, Graduate student, CLA.
Tanja Andic, Graduate student, Sociology.
Poonam Srivastava, Alumnus, Biotechnology Institute.
Julia Corwin, Graduate student, Geography – CLA.
Karen Ho, Faculty, Anthropology.
Claire Stoscheck, Graduate student, Humphrey.
Amelia Hassoun, Graduate student, Anthropology.
Paul Rouzer, Faculty, Asian Languages and Literatures.
Arun Saldanha, Faculty, Geography, Environment and Society.
Robin Wright, Graduate student, Geography.
Jason McGrath, Faculty, Liberal Arts/Asian Languages & Literatures.
Abhay Doshi, Graduate Student, Department of English.
#AssamwithJNU – Thousands take to the Streets in Assam
Last two days had seen several #AssamWithJNU #JusticeForRohith protests and rallies demanding justice for Rohith Vemula and against the assault on JNU, police crackdown and arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar under the charges of sedition, media trial of Umar Khalid, and the undeclared emergency in the country.

On 19th February, Satra Mukti Sangram Samiti [Students’ Liberation Struggle Committee] along with SFI and AISF units of Guahati University staged a protest in Guahati University campus. On 18th February, a similar protest was staged by students of Dibrugarh University which was disrupted by hooligans of ABVP, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Jagaran Manch; according to reports to control the situation from spiraling out district authorities had to deploy CRPF inside Dibrugarh University campus.

In Guwahati, On 18th February thousands of citizens including peasants, public intellectuals, artists, and students and faculty members of Cotton College State University, Guahati University, TISS – Guwahati protested in Guwahati.

Under the banner of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) [Peasants’ Liberation Struggle Committee] and Satra Mukti Sangram Samiti [Students’ Liberation Struggle Committee], the student wing of KMSS, the protesters gathered at 11 am at Dighalipukhuri near the District Library. The protesters were addressed by KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi, former principal of Cotton College and renowned cultural activist Sitanath Lahkar, eminent author and social activist Dr. Dinesh Baishya, noted artist Loknath Goswami, General Secretary Asom Sangrami Mancha Manjit Mahanta among others. At around 1 pm the gathered protesters took out a protest march from near Dighalipukhuri to the office of the deputy commissioner of Kamrup (metropolitan).

itanath Lakhar while addressing the protesters said “First it was FTII, then University of Hyderabad and now JNU. If we keep mum, similar incidents will take place here also. It is a design to terrorise people. Kanhaiya, students, teachers and journalists were beaten up inside court where people go for justice”.It might be worth mentioning that few days earlier scores of academicians from Assam; among others noted literary critic and retired Gauahti University professor Dr. Hiren Gohain, Renowned poet and former Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University Amarjyoti Choudhury, Gauhati University Professor Emeritus Khanindra Chowdhury, Assam University Professor Debasish Bhattacharya, Assam University Controller of Examination Suprabir Dutta Roy; had condemn the Modi Goverment’s handling of the JNU issue.

Dr. Gohain told PTI that “I think this is an excessive use of state power in such a way as to imperil some of our basic constitutional rights. The fact that many members of the faculty have come out in a demonstration of solidarity with the protesting students confirms that it is not a mere case of youthful adventurism.” Prof. Debasish Bhattacharya added that “Anyone can have an opinion on Kashmir and what is the problem in having a discussion on that? If there is anything wrong happening, the university has its own mechanism. The government should have faith on this and should not have interfered. It is a fascist approach”.
#StandwithJNU: Solidarity Statement from the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia
We, graduate students and faculty at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice and the broader University of British Columbia community stand in absolute and resounding support of the students, faculty, staff and allies at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). We condemn the political and legal clout being exercised by the Indian government in Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest and subsequent reaction to protests. Not only is Kanhaiya’s arrest erroneous and suspect to begin with, the consequent unraveling of systematic hatred towards these “anti-national” scholars creates an environment where anyone perceived to be against ‘Hindu’-hence-Indian culture is at risk of personal harm meted out by the State.

It is deeply disturbing to note public debate around this on mainstream Indian media and TV news channels. The contention is that universities should not be spaces of political engagement, but of quiet scholarly repose.  As students and researchers committed to the principles of transnational social justice, it is distressing to note this attempt to depoliticize the university space by dismissing students as undeserving of their spot for being actively engaged in the future of their country.

To term universities and institutions that foster alternative spaces of being and thinking ‘anti-national’ is commandeering an invective that is untrue and wholly vicious.  Moreover, the violence meted out to Kanhaiya as well as journalists at Patiala Court is horrifying, especially noting Delhi police’s inaction and complicity in this, despite tight presence. It is precisely this sort of unprovoked violence by the State apparatus that is undemocratic. It is baffling to note the Delhi police’s apparent inability to track down the people who attacked Kanhaiya, while at the same time it launches a now country-wide witch hunt for another JNU student leader Umar Khalid (who allegedly organized the protest in question), based on completely false Islamophobic allegations.

We believe that universities are sites of active engagement, and using an old colonial remnant that is the sedition charge betrays intent to suppress the voice of a democracy. To hold debates and discussions is not anti-national, even more so when there is overwhelming testimony that Kanhaiya Kumar was not involved in the particular sloganeering for which he was arrested. An active and thriving student body presence is what makes JNU one of Asia’s premiere institutions. It is deeply disappointing to note the efforts by the current government to clamp down on this. It is with rising alarm that we register the chain of events that connect other established institutions like the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and the University of Hyderabad (UoH).

These threats to academic freedom and the right to dissent are not contained to national borders. They affect us all globally. In JNU we see ourselves. To our fellow students, faculty and staff at JNU: we commend you for your courage in this struggle. India stands at a pivotal moment right now. May we never tire of fighting the good fight. We #StandwithJNU.
February 19, 2016.
In solidarity,
  • Shruti Buddhavarapu, Graduate Student, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • Noal Amir, Graduate Student, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • Kristi Carey, Graduate Student, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • Iman Baobeid, Graduate Student, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • Dina Al-Kassim, Associate Professor, English Department and Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • Renisa Mawani, Associate Professor, Sociology
  • Jen Sung, Communications staff, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • Sanjeev Routray, Sessional Lecturer, Department of Sociology
  • Prajna Rao, PhD student, School of Community and Regional planning
  • Leah Grantham, Graduate Student, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • Thomas Kemple, Professor, Sociology
  • Magnolia Pauker, Graduate Student, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • Tanvi Sirari, Graduate Student, Sociology
  • Sara Shneiderman, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Institute of Asian Research
  • Madeleine Reddon, Graduate Student, English Department
  • Sunera Thobani, Associate Professor, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • Janice Stewart, Senior Instructor, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • John Paul Catungal, Instructor I, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • Rima Wilkes, Professor, Sociology
  • Victoria James, Graduate Student, SLAIS
  • Conor Wilkinson, Graduate Student, History
  • Sydnie Koch, Graduate Student, Civil Engineering
  • Mark Adams, Graduate Student, Electrical Engineering
  • Sampath Satti, Graduate Student, Biomedical Engineering
  • Hanna Dahlström, Graduate Student, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • Denise Ferreira da Silva, Associate Professor, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
  • J. Lowik, Graduate Student, Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS STANDS WITH JNU
We, the undersigned students, faculty, staff, and other members of the University of Illinois community are in solidarity with students, faculty and staff at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), India, against the ongoing anti-democratic actions by the Indian state. We demand an immediate end to the police action against students on campus, and withdrawal of all charges against Kanhaiya Kumar, President of the JNU Students’ Union. We unequivocally condemn the witch hunting of students, using archaic laws of sedition, who organized the cultural event questioning capital punishment and the deliberate vandalism and violence unleashed by those affiliated with Hindu Nationalist groups. We are also dismayed at the violence used by lawyers aligned with the government in their acts of vigilantism which are aimed at using the garb of patriotism to impose their ideology through violence.
We strongly believe that the charge of sedition against Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and the other 6 students are based on spurious evidence. This arrest is an excuse for the state to root out dissenting voices on JNU campus, a move towards converting educational institutions like JNU into an arm of the authoritarian state. Attempts of a similar nature have been witnessed recently at other Indian educational institutions such as Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and Hyderabad University. The growing threat to academic freedom and the practice of fundamental thinking and critique, posed by the current political climate is transnational, and extends beyond India to other parts of the world–it is a threat we face here in the United States, too.

For any word or action to qualify as being “seditious” under Indian law, it has to directly issue a call to violence in front of a gathered mob capable of such violence. This was not the nature of the protest held by a group of JNU students against the judiciary’s decision regarding Afzal Guru. His conviction and the subsequent hanging has been questioned repeatedly by legal scholars, jurors, lawyers, writers, and academics. The peaceful protest held on February 9 on campus was not unlike other protests convened at the university over the last several decades. Further, the sedition law the Indian state is using to target democratic students at JNU is a colonial-era law originally imposed by the British Empire to keep its subjects in line. Britain itself has since abolished sedition as a criminal offense.
Dissent is an essential part of a healthy democracy. We therefore strongly condemn the Indian government’s response to the students’ protests and demand that the state refrain from authoritarian behaviour. In this spirit, we urge the Vice Chancellor of JNU to protect members of the university community and safeguard their democratic rights. We also urge the Central Government to immediately withdraw any police investigation into the case and leave the matter to the autonomous bodies of Jawaharlal Nehru University.
 
Further signatures available at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/university-of-illinois-stands-with-jnu-india
 
Signed, as of 14:00 GMT 19th Feb 2016 –
Tariq Khan, History
Utathya, History
Tariq Omar Ali
Natalie Nagel
Kristina Clarke-Khan
Umair Rasheed, CSAMES alumnus
Sunny Ture, Education
Muhammad Yousuf
Sara Feldman, Jewish Culture and Society
Brandon Hudspeth
Rajashekar Iyer
Raha Behnam
Deirdre Ruscitti Harshman
Kadeem Fuller
Harry Mickalide
Shwetha
Megan White, History
Mohammed Sheikh, Physics
Shikha Lakhanpal
Apoorv
Jyoti Aneja
Pronoy Rai
Padmaja
Aristotelis Panagiotopoulos
Peter Wright
Andrea Herrera
Alisha Elliott
Michelle Kenny
Marillia Correa Kuyumjian
Anustup Basu
Estibalitz Ezkerra
Rebecca Ginsburg
Richard Hamilton
Amita
Anil Bera
Aparajita Zutshi
Perla Torres
Sreoshi Banerjee
Prakrati
Mark Sanchez
Sharmila Ghosh
Elchin Gulaliyev
Stuart Levy
Dola B
Mousumi Mukherjee
Daniel Werst, UIUC Graduate
Jayadev Athreya, Adjunct Associate Professor of Mathematics
Meghan Bohardt
Bryan Parthum
 
ALL INDIA LAWYERS UNION RAJASTHAN STATE COMMITTEE: Solidarity Message to JNU
ALL INDIA LAWYERS UNION RAJASTHAN STATE COMMITTEE

Dated:18.2.2016

SOLIDARITY MESSAGE TO JNU

All India Lawyers Union (AILU), Rajasthan State Unit, strongly condemn the recent incident where individuals in uniform of Advocates misbehaved and assaulted Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar, the president of JNU Students Union, JNU faculties, Media persons on 15.2.2016 when Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar was produced in court before the magistrate is very serious issue and it became vigorous when the incident was repeated after two days, on 17.2.2016 despite of the actions given byHon’ble Supreme Court.

Further the AILU is of the view that the Jawahar Lal Nehru University is one of the institutions in the world where healthy atmosphere is developed over a time to discuss over the national and international issues. The students as well as the faculty members thereof is of the caliber to suggest a visionary and logical culmination, which not only important for individual but also for the nation and humanity as whole. Furthermore, University is a place where new ideas are developed, questions are asked and policies are praised or criticized. If any unwarranted incident is happened in the campus of the university, certainly an action has to be initiated against the responsible individual and for such action the university administration is having sufficient measures to act upon and no police action inside the campus was required at all. If the university authorities failed to take action or has shown its inability to restrict such activity, only then the police force may be used.

As such the police action in the university campus was absolutely unwarranted, unjustified and abuse of power by the state machinery.

Arrest of Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar and other students and treating them like hardcore criminals/terrorists, in the name of sedation without any substantial evidence, is not expected in a civilized society. The crime of sedation was inserted in IPC by the British rule in order to supress anyone who used to speak against the colonial rule. This term ‘sedation’ is obsolete and has no place in a democratic system like ours, especially in the educational institutions, having international reputation. Framing students in the name of sedation is clearly an attack on the fundamental rights, that is, of speech and expression.

Intentional avoidance of the Hon’ble Supreme Court instructions is apparently an act of contempt of court for which stern action has to be taken. AILU strongly suggests to take following actions against the responsible :
(i) Criminal case has to be registered against the advocates or the persons in the advocates’ uniform indulged in assaulting within the court premises;
(ii) Separate proceeding of criminal contempt is to be started against the persons involved in assaulting despite instructions of Supreme Court;
(iii) The police personals deployed at the court campus, in front of whom the act of assault was occurred has to be suspended henceforth and inquiry has to be initiated against them;
(iv) Mr. Om Prakash Sharma, the sitting MLA, who was apparently involved in the assaulting and to instigate others to involve in assaulting, his membership of Legislative Assembly is to be seized, proceeding of criminal contempt is to be initiated against him;
(v) The courts are the place where people come with the deep faith to get justice but such type of incidents not only deprive the people to avail justice but also diminish the belief in rule of law, and therefore, stern action has to be initiated against each and every responsible person whomsoever he is;
(vi) Code of conduct for advocates has to be reviewed and it may be inserted that any advocate, who involves in such incidents occured on 15.2.2016 and 17.02.2016, shall be restricted to appear in court as well as seize their auth of advocacy;
(vii) The magistrate, before whom the repeated disruption of court proceeding was occurred but no action against the responsible advocates/persons was taken, no FIR was lodged, stern action is required to be initiated against him.
The AILU condemn both the incidents, i.e. abuse of power by the police administration in the JNU campus and omission to prevent the assault on the students faculties and media persons in the court room /campus of Patiala House court. Our organization also demands for immediate release of Kanhaiya Kumar, president of JNUSU, so that normalcy can be restored.

(Dr. Vikram Singh Nain)
General Sectretary

General Secretary: Dr. Vikram Singh Nain Advocate Mobile No: +91 9414069959 Office: 0141-2810959 E-mail: [email protected]

President: Sanjay Tyagi Advocate Mobile No.+91 9414048493 +91 9314013492

8, Nagaur Nagar, Nr. Kisaan Dharam Kanta Gopalpura Bye-pass Road, Jaipur-302019
 
STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH STUDENT ACTIVISTS IN INDIA: University of Pennsylvania & Philadelphia South Asian Collective
We, activists and academics in the Pennsylvania region, strongly condemn the attack on academic freedom at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. The arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, the President of the JNU Student’s Union, on charges of sedition has brought to light the intervention of the Union Government in the internal matters of the university. The repeated interference by police personnel at the behest of Vice Chancellors on university campuses is a draconian move. The charges against students were brought after an event organized by a section of students on campus premises to discuss the judicial execution of Afzal Guru. The JNU Students’ Union was subsequently held responsible for the “anti-national” slogans that were chanted by a group of students. We condemn these trumped-up and unconstitutional charges and stand in solidarity with the efforts to repeal capital punishment in India.

The events unfolding at JNU reveal disturbing similarities with instances of government repression on other campuses. We remember, with distress, the actions of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) administration in cahoots with the Central Government, actions that led to the death of a promising Ambedkarite student-activist, Rohith Vemula. The protests that arose indicted the discriminatory atmosphere prevailing in our universities as tantamount to the denial of the fundamental right to education to socially marginalized groups. Further, the murder of social thinkers like Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi by hyper-nationalist elements under the tacit encouragement of the policies of the Central Government has shocked all advocates of free speech in India.

The charges of sedition against students participating in democratic discussion of public events is highly objectionable. The stifling of voices through intimidation and muscle power does not bode well for educational institutions.

Debate and dissent are integral parts of a strong democracy. Universities are critical public spaces that support these democratic practices to realize the values of social justice enshrined in the ideals of the constitution. International campuses like JNU, FTII and UoH bring together diverse group of students in the spirit of self-reflexive and deep intellectual engagement to ask fundamental questions of their social realities. An attack on these institutions is an attack on this precious pedagogical space. Student movements in India in alliance with other social movements in the country have historically been a resilient and sensitive force. The BJP government’s efforts to undermine them is nothing but an assault on Indian democracy. The government has failed to protect the rights of student bodies, and the highhandedness of the police highlights the insecurities of the present government.

In the United States during a presidential election year, we watch increasingly bigoted views against blacks, Muslims, and immigrants gaining ground. These events cannot be seen in isolation and we stand at the intersection of socio-political movements in the US and South Asia.
We stand in solidarity with students and faculty of JNU and demand the immediate release of the detained students. We appeal to all advocates for academic freedom in India and abroad to stand united against this state atrocity.
  1. Anannya Bohidar, Graduate Student, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  2. Ammel Sharon, Graduate Student, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  3. Meghna Chandra, Philadelphia South Asian Collective
  4. Ania Loomba, English, University of Pennsylvania
  5. Projit Mukharji, History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania
  6. Najnin Islam, Graduate Student, English, University of Pennsylvania
 
  1. Suvir Kaul, English, University of Pennsylvania
  2. Rallapalli Sundaram, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  3. Teren Sevea, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  4. Debjani Bhattacharyya, History, Drexel University
  5. Kasturi Sen, Lawyer for the Defender Association of Philadelphia and Philadelphia South Asian Collective.
  6. Toorjo Ghose, Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania
  7. Ishani Dasgupta, Graduate Student, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  8. Shampa Chatterjee, Medical School, University of Pennsylvania
  9. Lucas de Lima, Graduate Student, Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania
  10. Sangeeta Banerji, Graduate Student, Geography, Rutgers University
  11. Sarita Mizin, Graduate Student, English, Lehigh University
  12. Aashish Gupta, Graduate Student, Demography, University of Pennsylvania
  13. Shourjya Deb, Graduate Student, Public Policy and Administration, Rutgers University
  14. Sugra Bibi, University of Pennsylvania
  15. Samira Junaid, Graduate Student, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  16. Nandita Chaturvedi, Graduate Student, Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania
  17. Muhammed Malik, with Philadelphia South Asia Collective
  18. Joshua Pien, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  19. Sirus Joseph Libeiro, Graduate Student, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
  20. Sambuddha Chaudhuri, Graduate Student, School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania
  21. Tanushree Bhan, Graduate Student, Public Policy and Public Affairs, University of Massachusetts Boston
  22. Pooja Nayak, Graduate Student, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
  23. Kaushik Ramu, Graduate Student, Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania
  24. Darakhshan Khan, Graduate Student, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  25. Timothy J. Loftus, Graduate Student, Religion, Temple University
  26. Mercedes Yanora, Graduate Student, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  27. Faisal I Chaudhry, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  28. Sudev J Sheth, Graduate Student, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  29. Brooke Stanley, Graduate Student, English, University of Pennsylvania
  30. Melissa E. Sanchez, English, University of Pennsylvania
  31. Hao Jun Tam, Graduate Student, English, University of Pennsylvania
  32. David Kazanjian, English, University of Pennsylvania
  33. Aaron Bartels-Swindells, Graduate Student, English, University of Pennsylvania
  34. Manjita Mukharji, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  35. Diksha Dhar, Graduate Student, Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Scholar (visiting), University of Pennsylvania.
  36. Faranak Miraftab, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
  37. Timothy Lorndale, Graduate Student, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
  38. Brittany Puller, Graduate Student, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
  39. Philip Friedrich, Graduate Student, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
  40. Dave Kussell, Undergraduate, Economic History, University of Pennsylvania.
  41. Jared Weinstein, Undergraduate, Math, University of Pennsylvania.
  42. Pushkar Sohoni, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
  43. Akshay Walia, Graduate Student, Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania.
  44. Lavanya Nott, Philadelphia South Asia Collective.
  45. Leopold Eisenlohr, Graduate Student, Chinese, University of Pennsylvania.
  46. Evelyn Soto, Graduate Student, English, University of Pennsylvania.
  47. Johanna Greeson, Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania.
  48. Julia Chatterjee, Undergraduate, South Asia Studies, University in Pennsylvania.
  49. Josephine Park, English, University of Pennsylvania.
  50. Priti Narayan, Graduate Student, Geography, Rutgers University.
  51. Monidipa (Mimi) Mondal, Graduate Student, Creative Writing, Rutgers University.
  52. Baishakh Chakrabarti, Graduate Student, South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
  53. Chao Guo, Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania.
  54. Ram Cnaan, Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania.
  55. Femida Handy, Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania.
  56. Ezekiel Dixon-Roman, Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania.
  57. Andrea Doyle, Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania.
  58. Sheena Sood, Philadelphia South Asia Collective.
  59. Rovel Sequeira, Graduate Student, English, University of Pennsylvania
  60. Daniel Davies, Graduate Student, English, University of Pennsylvania
  61. David L. Eng, English, University of Pennsylvania
  62. Nancy J. Hirschmann, Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
  63. Kalyan Nadiminti, Graduate Student, English, University of Pennsylvania
  64. James English, Director, Penn Humanities Forum, University of Pennsylvania
  65. Micah Del Rosario, Graduate Student, English, University of Pennsylvania
  66. Chi-Ming Yang, English, University of Pennsylvania.
  67. Jean-Christophe Cloutier, English, University of Pennsylvania
  68. Andrew Lamas, Urban Studies, University of Pennsylvania
  69. Amy Kaplan, English, University of Pennsylvania.
  70. Jed Esty, English, University of Pennsylvania.
  71. Prachi Priyam, Philadelphia South Asia Collective.
  72. Michael Gamer, English, University of Pennsylvania.
  73. Timothy Corrigan, English, University of Pennsylvania.
  74. Paul Saint-Amour, English, University of Pennsylvania.
  75. Monika Bhagat-Kennedy, Graduate Student, English, University of Pennsylvania.
  76. Fatima Tassadiq, Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
  77. Hariprasad Kowtha, Philadelphia South Asian Collective
  78. Rahul Mukherjee, Cinema Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
  79. Eram Alam, History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania.
  80. Jazmin Delgado, Graduate Student, English, University of Pennsylvania.
Letter of solidarity with JNU: Students, Staff and Faculty, Ashoka University
We, the undersigned—who study and work at Ashoka University, as well as the alumni of the Young India Fellowship, in our private capacity—write to voice our solidarity with the students and faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Recent events at JNU, including the arrest of the JNUSU President over the charge of sedition, as well as other disproportionate measures, amount to a deeply troubling attack on academic and cultural freedom. We strongly condemn the display of brute force by the police, who were given free entry to the campus, including hostels, to question, detain and arrest students and faculty members. We protest the lack of police protection to those students and faculty, and condemn the use of State force against democratic expressions of dissent.As proponents of liberal education, we believe that societies can only grow when they foster intellectual engagement with fundamental social questions and contemporary political issues through non-violent debate and argumentation. University campuses are, and should be, autonomous spaces where people can peacefully express as well as challenge dissent and opinions. However, the recent spate of events involving many university campuses across the country has posed a serious threat to the sanctity of such spaces as well as the democratic right to dissent and freedom of speech and expression. This includes the turn of events that led to Rohith Vemula’s death at the University of Hyderabad, the withholding of grants by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to Panjab University, and several instances of violent disruption of the screening of the film Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai in campuses across the country.

We condemn the State-backed misuse of the charge of sedition, a colonial era provision in the Indian Penal Code, against the JNUSU President, Kanhaiya Kumar. In the documented absence of any allegedly ‘anti-national’ actions or rhetoric on his part, we see the charge as an attempt to stifle dissent from the dominant order and silence critique of the State. We strongly believe that the provision against sedition, which was repealed in the United Kingdom itself in 2009, has no place in modern democracy. Most immediately, we strongly disapprove of the action of certain lawyers and a Member of the Legislative Assembly who physically attacked JNU students and faculty members as well as journalists outside the Patiala Court House premises on 15th February, 2016.

We fear that the continued State inaction against such instances of violence will foster an environment in which the label “anti-national” or “traitor” can be imposed on every voice of dissent.
We urge that:

– the JNU campus be restored to normalcy and the police be withdrawn from all parts of the campus.
– the JNUSU President, Kanhaiya Kumar be released from police custody immediately and all charges be dropped against him.
– such unconstitutional actions be denounced.
– we be allowed to nurture our universities as tolerant, democratic spaces where dissent and disagreement is respected, discussions are nurtured, and critical thinkers are born.
 
Faculty
Ajit Mishra Bhaskar Dutta Malvika Maheshwari
Alex Watson Debarati Roy Mandakini Dubey
Anisha Sharma Durba Chattaraj Maya Saran
Anunaya Chaubey Gilles Verniers Nayanjot Lahiri
Anuradha Saha Gwendolyn Kelly Rajendran Narayanan
Aparajita Dasgupta Jonathan Gil Harris Ratna Menon
Aparna vaidik Kranti Saran Ravindran Sriramachandran
Arunava Sinha Kunal Joshi Saikat Majumdar
Aruni Kashyap M A Ahmad Khan Supriya Nayak
Pulapre Balakrishnan Madhavi Menon Vaiju naravane
Bharat Ramaswami Malabika Sarkar Vishes Kothari
 
Staff
Adil Shah Kanika Singh Shiv D Sharma
Aniha Brar Karuna Shreya Khedia
Anu Singh Meena S. Wilson Sudarshana Chanda
Anuja Kelkar Mercia Prince Suha Gangopadhyay
Charu Singh Priyanka Kumar Sukanya Banerjee
Chiranjit mahato Sarah Afraz Sushmita Nath
Dr Maaz Bin Bilal Saumya Varma Swarnim Khare
Harshita Tripathi Saurav Goswami Tanita Abraham
Ishan de Souza Sayan Chaudhuri Zehra
Sushmita Samaddar Surya Raman Sandeep Saraswal
Apoorva Gupta Aditya Sarin Chandan Sharma
Alumni
Aafaque R Khan Kaavya Gupta Rishi Iyengar
Akanksha Kande Sruthi Niveditha Ritesh Agarwal
Akshay Barik Kaustubh Khare Rohini Singh
Ananta Seth Maansi Verma Rupali Kapoor
Antony Arul Valan Malini Bose Sai Krishna Kumaraswamy
Anushka Siddiqui Mayank Sharma Sakshi Ghai
Ashish Kumar Mrudula Nujella Shahzaib Ahmed
Ashweetha Neil Maheshwari Shaleen Wadhwana
Avni Ahuja Neelakshi Tewari Shashank Mittal
Chaarvi Badani Nikita Saxena Shivangi Pareek
Danish Ahmad Mir Nina Sud Shrestha Mullick
Debanshu Roy Nipun Arora Shweta Subbaraman
Deepika Ghosh Parushya Simeen Kaleem
Devleena Chatterji Pavithra Srinivasan Simranpreet Oberoi
Dhaneesh Jameson Poornima Sardana Sonal Jain
Dhwani Sabesh Pragya Mukherjee Subhodeep Jash
Hardika Dayalani Prama Neeraja Tanuj Bhojwani
Harsh Mani Tripathi Rahul Sreekumar Taysir Moonim
Harsh Snehanshu Rajat Nayyar Vaishnavi Viraj
Himanshu Ranjan Ratul Chowdhury Venkat Prasath
Jahanara Rabia Raza Rimjhim Roy Vishal Khatri
#StandWithJNU: Solidarity Statement by Academics in the UK
This is a statement by over three hundred and fifty academics based in the UK.

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the students, faculty, and staff of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). We condemn the BJP government-sanctioned police action in the JNU campus and the illegal detention of the JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar. We strongly condemn the manner in which political dissent is being stifled, reducing academic spaces to fortresses. We also condemn the widespread witch-hunt of left-wing students and student groups that this police action has unleashed.

These recent acts are representative of the larger trend that we have been observing – the imposition of an authoritarian and regressive agenda in institutions of higher learning from Films and Television Institute [FTII], Hyderabad Central University [HCU] to Jawaharlal Nehru University [JNU]. From the institutional murder of HCU student, Rohith Vemula, and the suppression of student protests at FTII to the illegal detention of the student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar and pervasive police presence at JNU, there has been a constant non- observance and disregard of administrative and legal norms as well as a gross infringement of the democratic rights of the student community. These actions are embedded in a deeply chauvinistic cultural nationalism, which espouses a casteist and Brahmanical, homophobic, and patriarchal worldview.

We strongly believe that student politics is being targeted currently by giving a new lease of life to a sedition law that was a draconian tool in the hands of the colonial state and has no place in a democracy. It is our democratic right to dissent, disagree, organise and struggle against state, institutions or policies that transgress and suppress democratic and egalitarian values. Expression of dissent cannot and should not be equated with being ‘anti-national’ (or any other such constructed category) and is definitely not punishable under law especially if it is non-violent.

Disguising targeted assault on oppositional student groups/political movements within the narrative binaries of nationalism/anti nationalism only reflects how vulnerable the BJP government feels in its own ability to provide accountable governance.

We also believe that institutions of higher learning should be publicly funded spaces for political engagement, debates, and critical discussions – a legacy campuses (be it JNU, DU, or FTII) have embodied. As they always have, university spaces should subsidise costs of education for students, irrespective of the political disposition of the students. A rather disturbing feature of the narratives around this issue has been the construction and furthering of an artificial dichotomy between academics and politics that suggests that being ‘political’ is an aberration. This would certainly appear to be the case, if seen through the neoliberal lens of perceiving education as an industry that produces ‘semester bred’ automated ‘disciplined’ individuals who are mere consumers.

However, as the nonviolent expressions of dissent by students in JNU clearly demonstrate, contrary to this neo liberal view of academia,we believe that ‘personal is political’ and there is no sphere that is devoid of politics.We believe that good academic work necessarily involves a critical engagement with society and its power inequities and in that sense is always politically engaged. This engagement thrives in the democratic space of the university where many dissenting views can be heard and debated. The vilification of JNU as a space of ‘anti-national’ politics is being carried out by ABVP and BJP in order to attack and break this democratic spirit of academic and political life in Indian universities.

As teachers, students, scholars, and academics from the UK, who are keenly observing the developments unfolding in JNU, we express our solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of JNU as they non-violently resist this infringement on their rights. We urge the Vice Chancellor of JNU to uphold the institutional autonomy and the democratic rights of the student community. We also urge the government of India to stop encroaching on our rights as citizens, students, activists, political and politicised subjects.
 
  1. Akanksha Mehta, SOAS, University of London
  2. Priyanka Basu, SOAS, London
  3. Neha Vermani (JNU, 2013), Royal Holloway college, University of London
  4. Partha Pratim Shil, PhD student, Trinity College, University of Cambridge
  5. Niyati Sharma, University of Oxford
  6. Benarji Chakka, Chevening Scholar, SOAS, UoL
  7. Javed Wani, Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London
  8. Chacko, University of London.
  9. Jay Lingham, SOAS, University of London
  10. Anjali B Datta, University of Cambridge
  11. Shinjini Das, University of Cambridge
  12. Jaice Sara Titus, Brunel University London
  13. William Rees, SOAS, (2015)
  14. Alex Wolfers PhD Researcher at Cambridge University
  15. Aditya Balasubramanian, University of Cambridge
  16. Mayur Suresh,
  17. Lipika Kamra, University of Oxford
  18. Sneha Krishnan, University of Oxford
  19. Prashant Kidambi, University of Leicester
  20. James Eastwoos (SOAS, University of London)
  21. Rohan Deb Roy, Lecturer in South Asian History, University of Reading
  22. Prerna Bhardwaj, King’s College London
  23. Tristan Burke (University of Manchester)
  24. Surabhi Ranganathan, University of Cambridge
  25. Sanya Samtani, University of Oxford
  26. Baisali Mohanty, Post-graduate candidate, contemporary south asian studies, University of Oxford
  27. Prithvi Hirani, Aberystwyth University
  28. Dr Lorenza Monaco, SOAS, University of London
  29. Suman Ghosh, Bath Spa University
  30. Nayanika Mathur, University of Cambridge
  31. Marie-France Courriol,UniversityofCambridge
  32. Jayesha Koushik, University of Oxford
  33. Aditya Ramesh, SOAS
  34. Umika Pidaparthy, University of Oxford
  35. Sruthi Muraleedharan, SOAS, University of London
  36. JD Brown, SOAS, London
  37. Sudarshana Srinivasan, King’s College London
  38. Wiktor Ostasz (University of Oxford)
  39. T Khaitan, University of Oxford
  40. Erica Wald, Goldsmiths, University of London
  41. Deepa Kurup, Oxford University
  42. Sanjoy Bhattacharya, University of York, UK
  43. Thomas Marois, SOAS, University of London
  44. Saba Hussain, University of Warwick
  45. FeyziIsmail,SOAS
  46. Joe Buckley, PhD candidate, SOAS, University of London
  47. Sandipto Dasgupta, Newton International Fellow of the Royal Society and the British Academy
  48. Annabelle Sreberny, Emeritus Professor, SOAS, University of London
  49. Sahil Warsi, University of Leeds
  50. Subir Sinha, Department of Development Studies, SOAS
  51. Sabiha Allouche, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London
  52. Abhay Regulagedda – MIPLC
  53. Jaimie Johansson, University of East Anglia
  54. Shabnum Tejani, Senior Lecturer in Modern South Asian History, Department of History, SOAS, University of London
  55. Dr Kerem Nisancioglu, SOAS University of London
  56. Alfredo Saad Filho, SOAS University of London
  57. Arijeet Pal, University of Oxford
  58. Elisabeth Leake, Royal Holloway, University of London
  59. Musab Younis, Oxford University and SOAS
  60. Smitana Saikia King’s College London
  61. Dr Rahul S Gandhi BSc (Neuroscience) MBCHB, Member – Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  62. Sara Stevano, SOAS University of London
  63. Rachel Harrison, SOAS
  64. Jonathan Daniel Luther (SOAS)
  65. Abeera Khan, MA Gender Studies, SOAS
  66. Alexandra Tzirkoti, King’s College London
  67. Aditya Sarkar, Warwick University
  68. Teja Varma Pusapati, Phil Student in English, University of Oxford
  69. Secki Jose, PhD candidate, University of Leicester
  70. Shreya Sinha, SOAS, University of London
  71. Ashok Kumar, Queen Mary University of London
  72. Steven Martin, University of Cambridge
  73. Dr Helen Elsey, University of Leeds
  74. Dr Mandy Turner, Middle East Centre, LSE
  75. Zarah Sultana, NUS Black Students’ Campaign
  76. Nicholas Simcik Arese, University of Oxford
  77. DrAravindaGuntupalli,SeniorLecturerinPublicHealth,TheOpenUniversity,
  78. Milton Keynes, UK
  79. Lisa Tilley, University of Warwick
  80. Uttara Shahani, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge
  81. Nadje Al-Ali SOAS
  82. Saumya Saxena, University of Cambridge
  83. Diya Gupta, Department of English, King’s College London
  84. John Wood Aberystwyth University
  85. Dimitra Kotouza, University of Kent
  86. Nilanjana Sen Graduate Student King’s College London
  87. Gerhard Kling, SOAS University of London
  88. Akhila Yechury, University of Andrews
  89. Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, SOAS, University of London
  90. Rudra Sen (SOAS)
  91. Cam Stocks, Medical Student, Barts and The London School of Medicine
  92. Manjeet Ramgotra, SOAS University of London
  93. Juanita Elias, University of Warwick
  94. Sarah Gandee, University of Leeds
  95. Roy, SOAS
  96. Dr Richard Williams, University of Oxford
  97. Tom Cowan, King’s College London
  98. Layli Uddin, Royal Holloway
  99. Dr Sarah Hodges, History, University of Warwick
  100. Emma Hart, University of St Andrews
  101. Meenakshi Sinha, King’s India Institute, King’s College London
  102. Antonio Ferraz de Oliveira – University of Warwick
  103. Eve Tignol (Royal Holloway University of London)
  104. Ashwitha Jayakumar, MA student, University of Leeds
  105. Alastair McClure, PhD Student at the University of Cambridge
  106. Amir Khan – University of Cambridge
  107. Javier Moreno Zacarés, Warwick University
  108. Professor Stephen Hopgood, SOAS University of London
  109. Jordan Osserman, UCL
  110. Josh Holroyd, Socialist Appeal
  111. Ina Goel, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University College London
  112. Julian Benda, SOAS
  113. Ola Innset, European University Institute
  114. Nicole Beardsworth, University of Warwick
  115. Fatima Rajina, SOAS
  116. Karthikeyan Damodaran, University of Edinburgh
  117. Vanya V Bhargav, University of Oxford
  118. Meghna Nag Chowdhuri, University of Cambridge
  119. Ranjita Neogi, University of Reading
  120. Aparna John, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
  121. Omar Raii, UCL
  122. Ashna Sarkar – UCL
  123. Garikoitz Gómez Alfaro, University of Brighton
  124. Tom Cunliffe, KCL
  125. Mihika Chatterjee, University of Oxford
  126. Kavita Maya (SOAS, University of London)
  127. Niharika Pandit, master’s candidate, SOAS
  128. Jonathan Saha, University of Leeds
  129. Farooq Graduate Teaching Asst. SOAS, London
  130. Shreya Agrawal, Student at UCL
  131. Malia Bouattia, NUS Black Students’ Officer (UK)
  132. Amogha Varsha (University of Oxford, UK)
  133. Amelia Bonea, University of Oxford
  134. Avinash Paliwal, King’s College London
  135. Amrita Shodhan, SOAS, University of London
  136. Jacob Bard-Rosenberg, Birkbeck College, University of London
  137. Laurence Gautier, University of Cambridge
  138. Smriti Sawkar, University of Oxford
  139. Arianna Tassinari (University of Warwick)
  140. Anindya Raychaudhuri, University of St Andrews
  141. Onaiza Drabu, University of Oxford
  142. Mipsie Marshall University of Sussex
  143. Amit Kumar, DPhil Chemistry, University of Oxford
  144. Ishan Mukherjee, University of Cambridge
  145. Urmimala Maitra, University of Oxford
  146. Sahil Nijhawan (Student, University College London)
  147. James Lecturer in Islamicate South Asia, SOAS, University of London
  148. Anirudh Mathur, Student, Inner Temple
  149. Maia Barkaia, (JNU, 2010),Research Fellow, LMH, Oxford University
  150. Sheiry Dhillon, DPhil OB/GYN (C) MD (C)
  151. Jacob George Pallath, GDL student at University of Westminster
  152. Sadie Coventry University
  153. Dr Nicholas Cimini, Lecturer and EIS-ULA Exec member at Edinburgh Napier University
  154. Leandro Vergara-Camus, SOAS, University of London
  155. Chandak Sengoopta, Professor of History, Birkbeck College, University of London
  156. Ozan Kamiloglu, Associate Lecturer, University of London, Birkbeck
  157. Selbi Jumayeva, Visiting Research Fellow, IGS at LMH University of Oxford
  158. Somak Biswas, University of Warwick
  159. Divya David, University of Oxford
  160. Mihika Chatterjee, University of Oxford
  161. Mishka Sinha, University of Cambridge, UK
  162. Emile Chabal, University of Edinburgh
  163. Radhika Govinda, University of Edinburgh
  164. Varun Ramesh – University of Oxford
  165. Nat Raha, University of Sussex
  166. David Dahlborn, UCL
  167. Lesley Hoggart, The Open University, UK
  168. Chinmay Sharma SOAS
  169. Sahil Kureshi, University of Oxford
  170. Leshu Torchin, University of St Andrews
  171. Ameya Kelkar-SOAS, London
  172. Ankita Pandey, Phil candidate, University of Oxford
  173. Sinthujan Varatharajah, UCL Geography
  174. Maanasa SOAS
  175. Dr Ghazala Mir, University of Leeds
  176. Deepa Kurup, University of Oxford
  177. Secki P Jose, University of Leicester
  178. Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick
  179. Sneha Menon, University of Oxford
  180. Yasser Shams Khan, University of Oxford
  181. Harry Stopes, University College London
  182. Nithya Natarajan, SOAS
  183. Dr Marika Rose, Durham University
  184. Mansi Sood, Student, University of Oxford, 2015-16
  185. Mukulika Banerjee, Director of LSE South Asia Centre and Associate Professor of Anthropology, LSE
  186. Fatima Shahzad, Postgraduate Student, SOAS, University of London
  187. Rodrigo Torres, UCL
  188. Kanika Sharma, Birkbeck, University of London
  189. Paavani Singh – King’s College London
  190. Mallika Leuzinger, University College London
  191. Kashish Madan, A. English Literary Studies, Durham University
  192. Grace Egan, University of Glasgow
  193. Joseph McQuade, University of Cambridge
  194. Amrita Lamba, SOAS
  195. Sarah Kunz – PhD student, UCL
  196. Shamim Zakaria, University of Sussex
  197. Rubina Jasani, University of Manchester
  198. Moiz Tundawala, PhD candidate, London School of Economics and Political
  199. Aditya Ray, Queen Mary University of London
  200. Rahul Rao, SOAS, University of London
  201. Dr Lee Jones, Queen Mary University of London
  202. Manish Kushwaha, University of Warwick
  203. Kalpana Wilson, London School of Economics and Political Science
  204. Daniela Lainez del Pozo – University College London
  205. Praveen Priyadarshi, PhD Candidate, London School of Economics
  206. Anju Christine, King’s College London
  207. Amogha Varsha (University of Oxford)
  208. Ashutosh Kumar, University of Leeds, UK
  209. neha kagal, Doctoral Scholar, SOAS
  210. Dr Hannah Boast, University of York
  211. Phiroze Vasunia, University College London
  212. Saawani Raje, King’s College London
  213. Sanghita Sen, University of Andrews. Scotland
  214. Dr Rohit K Dasgupta (WSA), University of Southampton
  215. Utsa Mukherjee, Royal Holloway
  216. Senjuti Chakraborti, Birkbeck College, University of London
  217. Aakshi Magazine, University Of St Andrews
  218. Souraj Dutta, Research student, University of St Andrews, Scotland
  219. Megan Robb, University of Oxford
  220. Andrew Kinnell, President of Stirling Students Union
  221. Grant Buttars, University of Edinburgh
  222. Johannes Makar, student at SOAS and KU Leuven
  223. Dr Anandi Ramamurthy, Sheffield Hallam University
  224. Anish Vanaik, Purdue University (Oxford, 2013)
  225. Akshyeta Suryanarayan, University of Cambridge
  226. Eleanor Newbigin, SOAS, University of London
  227. Rubina Jasani, University of Manchester
  228. Siddharth Chawla, Cambridge University
  229. Dimble Mathew University of Bradford
  230. Kshiti Gala, SOAS, University of London
  231. Bjorn Berntson, University College London
  232. Sreenanti Banerjee, Birkbeck, University of London
  233. Pori Saikia University of Essex
  234. James Harland (Department of History, University of York)
  235. Kanwar Nain Singh, University of Cambridge
  236. Ayça Çubukçu, Assistant Professor in Human Rights, London School of Economics and Political Science
  237. Dr Satoshi Miyamura, SOAS, University of London
  238. Kyle Jordan (UCL)
  239. Gautam Bondada, Phil student, University of Oxford
  240. Tom Robinson, UCLU Welfare & International Officer
  241. Ettore Morelli, School of Oriental and African Studies
  242. Dr Jayasree Kalathil, Survivor Research, UK
  243. Tvisha Nevatia, LSE
  244. Karin Sjöstedt, SOAS
  245. Joya Chatterji, University of Cambridge
  246. Dr Peter Dwyer, Ruskin College, Oxford
  247. Dr Chris Rossdale, University of Warwick
  248. Rama Dieng, SOAS
  249. Anish Augustine, Queen Mary, University of London
  250. Sofa Gradin, Queen Mary University of London
  251. Nandini Maharaj, Sheffield Hallam University
  252. Shivangi Pareek, University of Cambridge
  253. Shubranshu Mishra, University of Kent
  254. Ritanjan Das, University of Portsmouth
  255. Ananya Rao-Middleton, University of Cambridge
  256. Ganga Shreedhar, London School of Economics
  257. Swapna Kona Nayudu, LSE
  258. Elizabeth Frazer, Head of Department, Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford
  259. Dr William McEvoy, University of Sussex, UK
  260. William Gould, University of Leeds
  261. Marta Garcia Aliaga (SOAS, University of London, and NALSAR)
  262. Ayse Zarakol, University of Cambridge
  263. Prof Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Warwick
  264. Lisa Skwirblies, D. Candidate (University of Warwick)
  265. Louiza Odysseos, University of Sussex
  266. Alex Anievas, University of Cambridge
  267. Dr Meera Sabaratnam, SOAS
  268. Kirsten Forkert, School of Media, Birmingham City University
  269. Eda Ulus, University of Leicester
  270. Premalatha Balan, University of Nottingham and University College, London
  271. Adelie Chevee, SOAS, University of London
  272. Manishita Dass, Royal Holloway (University of London)
  273. Rosalind Galt, King’s College London
  274. Priyasha Mukhopadhyay, Oxford
  275. Rod Earle, Dept of Health & Social Care, The Open University
  276. Caoimhe Mader McGuinness, Queen Mary University of London
  277. Julie Dayot University of Oxford
  278. Sai Englert, PhD candidate, SOAS, University of London
  279. Sonali Campion, London School of Economics
  280. Dr Cathy Bergin, University of Brighton
  281. Aditya, University of Oxford
  282. Akshi Singh, Queen Mary, University of London
  283. Karan Katoch, University of Oxford
  284. Raghav Kishore, University of Huddersfield
  285. Dr Tanvi Pate, PAIS, University of Warwick
  286. Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak, University of Salford, UK
  287. Konrad M Lawson (Lecturer St Andrews)
  288. Professor Emilia Jamroziak, University of Leeds
  289. Anwesha Sengupta, University of Oxford
  290. Andy Rixon The Open University UK
  291. Natalie James, UCLU
  292. Mirna Guha, PhD School of International Development, University of East Anglia
  293. Sita Balani King’s College London
  294. Steffan Blayney, Birkbeck, University of London
  295. Mehroosh Tak, SOAS
  296. Tanya Singh, University of Wolverhampton
  297. Kathryn Maude, Swansea University
  298. Hilary Aked, University of Bath
  299. S.V.P. Capildeo, Affiliate, St. John’s College, University of Cambridge
  300. Katy Sian, University of York
  301. S Lidher (Cambridge)
  302. Paul Kirby, University of Sussex
  303. Gayathri Sekhar, King’s College London
  304. Marijn Nieuwenhuis, Politics and Int. Studies, University of Warwick
  305. Lorena Lombardozzi (SOAS)
  306. Alen Toplisek, Queen Mary University of London
  307. Owen Clayton, University of Lincoln, UK
  308. Dr Terese Jonsson, University of Portsmuth
  309. Alexandra Sporidou Nottingham Trend University
  310. Professor Azrini Wahidin, Nottingham Trent University
  311. Janhavi Mittal, King’s College London
  312. Špela Drnovšek Zorko, SOAS, London
  313. Aapurv Jain, SOAS, University of London
  314. Noelle Richardson
  315. Vicki Baars
  316. Abhilasha Joshi, DPhil Neuroscience
  317. Fuad Ali, OtherAsias
  318. Miqdad
  319. Zara Kayani
  320. Jack Bardsley
  321. Joel White
  322. Pallavi Roy
  323. Vinayak Raj Gathoria
  324. Suchitra Sebastian
  325. Shariq
  326. Debanjali Biswas
  327. Umer Malik
  328. sabahat ijaz
  329. Sharon Mallon
  330. Arushi Menon
  331. Kaushik Banerjee
  332. Saumya Singh
  333. Sophie Mayer (independent scholar)
  334. Zara Qadeer
  335. Darshana Gurung
  336. Sahiba student masters
  337. Nihad Ahmed
  338. Nasir Arafat
  339. Shreya Chatterjee
  340. Edyth Parker
  341. Sinjini Chatterjee, student
  342. Daniel Ong
  343. Sunny Singh
  344. Ritika Bose
  345. Sanaz Raji, Independent Research & Campaigner
  346. Sameen Ali
  347. Shruti Sekhar Ravindran
  348. Shamira Meghani — scholar and teacher
  349. Leon Sealey-Huggins
  350. Neeharika Shetty
  351. Abhishikta Mallick
  352. Lakshmy Venkatesh
  353. Owen Clayton, University of Lincoln, UK
  354. Dr Terese Jonsson, University of Portsmuth
  355. Alexandra Sporidou Nottingham Trend University
  356. Professor Azrini Wahidin, Nottingham Trent University
  357. Janhavi Mittal, King’s College London
  358. Špela Drnovšek Zorko, SOAS
  359. Aapurv Jain, SOAS, University of London
  360. Laura Schwartz, University of Warwick
  361. Deepa Kurup, University of Oxford
  362. Gopal Balakrishnan
  363. Arwa Awan, Visiting Undergrad, University of Oxford
  364. Matthew Cole, University of Leeds
  365. Nikita S.
  366. Mohamed Hussain
Solidarity Statement for JNU by IIT Scholars
This is a statement issued by the undersigned, scholars of Departments of Humanities and Social Sciences of IITs across the country.

We, the undersigned, scholars of Departments of Humanities and Social Sciences of IITs across the country, condemn the police action in JNU and the arrest of the JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on the charge of sedition. We also denounce the repeated acts of violence unleashed by some lawyers and others at the Patiala House Court against faculty, students and the media, as well as police inaction regarding the same.

In addition, we appeal for media and public trials to cease and for civil society to instead focus on debating issues in an amicable and reasonable manner, without slandering JNU or questioning the academic integrity or patriotic fervour of JNU and its supporters. We criticise the general atmosphere of fear and intimidation that is being created to target the entire university. Given the fast polarizing political atmosphere in the country, we appeal to the media organisations to display greater responsibility and conduct television debates in such a manner that no prejudicial public opinion is created while there is an ongoing enquiry into the entire episode by the authorities concerned. Resorting to jingoism and sensationalism may cause avoidable hazards.We see the attack on JNU as one of a series of attacks on academic autonomy and the liberal ethos of learning. The attempt to ban the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle at IIT-Madras, questionable appointments at various institutions of higher education, and the recent attack on the Ambedkar Students’ Association at the University of Hyderabad leading to the death of research scholar Rohith Vemula, must be seen as a part of a very disturbing trend.

To function meaningfully, academic spaces should be vibrant and democratic, conducive for free enquiry and debate. We believe that universities have been and should remain, places for dialogue and deliberation. They should accommodate diverse opinions and cultures, where disagreements are resolved through the use of calm reason and balanced debate on both sides. Tampering with free inquiry by taking recourse to threat or intimidation not only tramples academic autonomy but leaves us poorer as a society. It is only through free exchange of thought, where ideas are allowed to propagate, and there remains a possibility of revision of previously-held opinions, that we develop as a nation and contribute to its further growth. We uphold the vibrant nature of India’s democracy and champion the right to dissent and examine the most fundamental concepts that are of interest to all Indian citizens. We stand in solidarity with JNUSU, JNUTA, JNU students, and all democratic bodies and individuals who are defending the liberal ethos of universities and appreciate the critical role they play in maintaining constitutional democracy.

Aditi Singh, IIT Kharagpur
Ahsan Mohammed, IIT Madras
Akaitab Mukherjee, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Amit Kumar Mishra, IIT Kharagpur
Amit Saurabh, IIT Bombay
Anitha Iris, IIT Madras
Ankit Saxena, IIT Roorkee
Ankita Agarwal, IIT Kharagpur
Ankita Das, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Ankur Betageri, IIT Delhi
Anukripa Elango, IIT Madras
Archana Kumari, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Archana Verma, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Arya Prakash, IIT Madras
Asha Rani Horo,  IIT Kharagpur
Ashni A L, IIT Madras
Ashwin Kurian Philip, IIT Madras
Asmita Verma, IIT Delhi
Bibhuti Mary Kachhap, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Chandana R B, IIT Madras
Chetan Kale, IIT Kharagpur
Chinju Johny, IIT Delhi
Debarati Dutta,  IIT Kharagpur
Debjani Sarkar, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Debashis Pahi,  IIT Kharagpur
Deepa Kozhisseri, IIT Madras
Diana Evangeline, IIT Madras
Divyanjana Prashansa, IIT Madras
Drishadwati  Bargi, IIT Delhi
Geeta Mishra, IIT Delhi
Gurmeet Kaur, IIT Delhi
Hasna Ashraf, IIT Madras
Himanshi Pandey, IIT Kharagpur
Ishita Verma, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Jayshree Borah, IIT Madras
Joydeep, IIT Kharagpur
Justin Joseph, IIT Madras
Jyotsna Priyadarshni, IIT Kharagpur
Kalpana, IIT Kharagpur
Kranthi Kumar K, IIT Bombay
Keerthy P A, IIT Madras
Lalita, IIT Delhi
Laxmi Kumari, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Madhumit, IIT Kharagpur
Madhura Balasubramaniam, IIT Madras
Manohar Kumar, IIT Delhi
Manoj T P, IIT Madras
Mahendra Shahare, IIT Delhi
Mayuri Dilip, IIT Madras
Moupikta Mukherjee, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Meera M Panicker, IIT Madras
Mohammad Shahid Zaman,IIT Madras
Nishant Kumar,IIT Madras
Neha Gupta, IIT Delhi
Nikhil Yadav, IIT Delhi
Pallavi Kiran, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Prateek Vijayavargia, IIT Bombay
Pratyusha Bhowmik, IIT Kharagpur
Pritika Nehra, IIT Delhi
Purvi Oraon, IIT Madras
Queen Sarkar, IIT Kharagpur
Ranjith Kallyani, IIT Bombay
Ravi Chakraborty, IIT Delhi
Reema Singh, IIT Kharagpur
Reena Ashem, IIT Delhi
Rituparna Sengupta, IIT Delhi
Robin EJ, IIT Delhi
Ruhi Sonal, IIT Delhi
Rupali Bansode, IIT Delhi
Sahel Md. Delabul Hossain, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Saliha Shah, IIT Delhi
Sana Huque, IIT Bombay
Sandip Datta, IIT Delhi
Sarbani Bandyopadhyay, IIT Bombay
Seema Ladsaria, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Shashwati Sinha, IIT Kharagpur
Shikha Vats, IIT Delhi
Smrity Sonal, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Soumya Mohan Ghosh, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Sreelakshmi R, IIT Madras
Sree Hari A P, IIT Madras
Sridhar S, IIT Madras
Suchitra Pramanik, IIT Kharagpur
Sukruth Koundinya, IIT Madras
Supriya Pandey, IIT Kharagpur
Supriya Kumari Singh, IIT Kharagpur
Swati Mantri, IIT Delhi
Swayamshree Mishra, IIT Delhi
Swetha Sridhar, IIT Madras
Syed Junaid Ahmad, IIT Delhi
Tamali, IIT Bombay
Tanima Kumari, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Thapasya J, IIT Madras
Upasana Sinha, IIT Dhanbad (ISM)
Urmila Reghunath, IIT Madras
Vikas Malhotra, IIT Kharagpur
Vikram Chukka, IIT Delhi
Vinay, IIT Bombay
Vishal Singh, IIT Kharagpur
Zenia Nanra, IIT Kharagpur
 
#NoDissentNoCOUNTRY #StandWithJNU
As the People’s Republic of Delhi dances to freedom’s song, people from around the world liberate banned speech. Bol Ke Labh Azad Hain Tere!

 
Divya Cherian, (JNU 2008) Rutgers University


Dora Zhang and Damon Young, University of California, Berkeley

 
Greta LaFleur, Yale University
As The People’s Republic of New Delhi Marches in the Free Air Students of Berkeley #StandWithJNU
As the people of Delhi march, sing, run and dance to freedom’s call, as they cock a snook at the shackles of nationalism, casteism and authoritarian stupidity, a gift of love from afar. Look at them standing in the free air! Look at them standing around a piece of earth unbound from the myopia of nationalism!

BerkeleyStudents
“This soil and the air space extending above it shall not be a part of any nation and shall not be subject to any entity’s jurisdiction,”
 At the memorial to the 1964 Free Speech Movement on the campus of University of California, Berkeley, students and faculty stand in love and solidarity with JNU. #standwithJNU
 
 The memorial the 1964 Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley, like the thing it celebrates, is both invisible and embattled. The monument appears to be a circle of concrete six feet in diameter, in the middle of the famed Sproul Plaza where thousands of students gathered to demand the right to free speech and academic freedom on one of America’s most prominent and celebrated public university campuses. But that monument is so much more than what can be seen. The concrete circle, bearing the inscription “This soil and the air space extending above it shall not be a part of any nation and shall not be subject to any entity’s jurisdiction,” encompasses a 6-inch wide indentation into the ground that reaches into the soil below and 60,000 feet upwards into the sky, to the limits of American airspace. That is, in fact, the monument to free speech at Berkeley: 60,000 feet and 6-inches of invisible insistence that to speak freely is not and cannot be a right granted by any sovereign, mandated by any state. The width of the depression in the ground is as large as a person’s two feet. The ground on which they stand. From which they speak. This is the lasting monument to free speech at Berkeley. From a space as wide as our stance, reaching in an unseeable column of air to the limits of the stratosphere. A monument of air that can never, like free speech itself, be contained, torn down, or granted by another. It lies, unassuming, built as it is out of the immateriality of inalienable rights, in the middle of a campus that grapples daily with the legacy of that now 50 year old fight for the right to claim the space of the university as one of protest, of politics, of resistance.
 
But Berkeley, we mustn’t forget, exists on occupied territory. Its celebrated monument digs into soil that was taken, without recompense or acknowledgement, from the Ohlone people who were stripped of their lands, their language, their culture, and their lives in what America today celebrates as its great westward expansion. Thus, the monument to free speech at the University of California, Berkeley, roots itself into a soil it claims belongs to no nation and also reifies centuries of the genocide of indigenous people and of settler colonialism. This too is the legacy of the Free Speech Movement. Of the student-led activism that created Ethnic Studies programs across California and the rest of the United States. To stand in the 6-inch wide memorial is to stand in land that is occupied and to nonetheless believe that no occupation, no nation, no state, mandates our ability and our right to speak, to protest, to imagine otherwise the world in which we live.
From Berkeley to JNU. With love and solidarity.
Poulomi Saha
University of California, Berkeley
Solidarity with JNU and Conversations on Kashmir: JKCCS
Guest Post by Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society

Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) expresses its solidarity with the striking students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. We have watched with a sense of horror and dismay, the violent criminalizing of student democracy and dissent, not just at Jawaharlal Nehru University but across Indian campuses in the recent past. Having long and intimate knowledge of violent repression and legalized impunity that Indian state is capable of, especially against those it considers ‘anti-national’ we are not surprised by these events, but have a special empathy with all who suffer its horrors. We demand the release of all student dissenters and political prisoners in the custody of the Indian state, and an end to acts of policing and surveillance on campuses, and targeting of students on the basis of political beliefs and speech.

The Kashmiri students in different colleges and universities in India, who have always faced discrimination and intimidation time to time, are now feeling the extreme regressive and oppressive means used by right wing groups and the government. After being hounded, Kashmiri students have begun leaving Delhi. There are several places where the landlords, in whose properties Kashmiri students were renting flats, have asked the students to vacate. These experiences of Kashmiri students are part of the larger reality faced by Kashmiri youth in Jammu and Kashmir and in India. The voices of dissent in Jammu and Kashmir have been dealt with administrative detentions under Public Safety Act, illegal detentions, torture, surveillance and killings by armed forces including the most recent one of Asif and Shaista at Pulwama on 14th of February.

We also view with alarm, the reports about the cynical use of Kashmiri students studying in Delhi as hostages in the politically illegitimate process of government formation in Srinagar.

We are dismayed that the public narrative about the recent events has often descended into disputes over Indian ‘patriotism’ and the shrill condemnation of a few ‘fringe’ ‘radical’ ‘traitors’ for ‘irresponsible’ slogans. These sentiments are neither mere slogans nor represent the ‘fringe’ in Kashmir, the very place they were made in reference to. As Kashmiris, we believe that the right to self-determination is inseparable from the right to political association, dissent and free expression, and these rights cannot be selectively asserted or upheld. In the competitive public proclamations of nationalistic credentials, what has been lost is that courageous act of defiant solidarity with the Kashmiri people’s struggle for justice and self-determination, that lies at the heart of these debates. Despite the disavowals and the state repression, the solidarity with the political rights of the Kashmiris is growing and spreading, as events in Jadavpur University demonstrate. We acknowledge the emerging spaces in Indian civil society to converse on the question of Kashmir, beyond nationalist framings. We hold out hope for future alliances with students, groups and individuals willing to engage in honest conversations, in which they alone do not determine the boundaries of what can or cannot be said, thought or felt.

Spokesperson
JKCCS
 
Solidarity Statement of Students from Northeast India, TISS, Mumbai 20th February 2016
We, the undersigned, students and research students from various states of northeastern region of India studying in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai would like to highlight on the unprecedented shrinkage of academic spaces across various universities in India. We condemn the politically motivated interferences of the state in Jawaharlal Nehru University and in Hyderabad Central University (HCU), and other universities. We also condemn the mob justice perpetrated by lawyers against students, journalist, activists etc in the Patiala House Courts, New Delhi, and media trial led by prominent journalists from New Delhi.

Additionally, we would like to counter the claim of Delhi Police on terming consumption of beef in the light of JNU incident as anti-national activity. Going by this yardstick, students coming from northeastern region who consume beef will not fit into the notion of nationalism defined by the Delhi Police.  This indicates that the discourse of nationalism in India has to become broader in scope so that it can engage and acknowledge concerns of people from marginalised sections. Reducing the current incident into the binaries of nationalism and anti-nationalism will isolate and exclude issues of tribal people, Dalits, Muslims etc. There is a need to distinguish between dissent and anti-national activity.

In this platform, we would also like to mention about the omission of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) from the eligibility list in the online application form for National Fellowships for Higher Education for ST Students (NFST) where ST students pursuing MPhil/PhD from TISS were not able to apply for this fellowship. Meanwhile, similar UGC fellowships for SC and OBC students from TISS are still operational. Such step discourages and demotivates ST students who are mostly first generation students to take up higher studies in their pursuits for academic career. We seek intervention from the Centre and concerned authorities on this issue.

The patterns across various universities orchestrated by ABVP and right wing politics are disturbing. The recent incident of Rohith Vemula from HCU which has shaken the consciences of everyone is reflexive of everyday discriminations, and atrocities meted out to Dalits. The turn of events coming out from JNU has diminished the building up of momentum on seeking justice for Rohith Vemula. We sense larger politics at play from the ruling government on evading Rohith Vemula’s case, and of UGC non-net fellowship. In the interest of academic spaces and free thinking, and democratic values, we appeal for immediate release of Kanhaiya Kumar of JNU, reconsideration of charges against Umar Khalid of JNU and other students, and fulfilment of justice for Rohith Vemula. We extend our solidarity with JNU, HCU, IIT-M, FTII and other universities/institutes, and autonomy of universities, spaces for debate, discussion and dissent (including issues like AFSPA, developmental projects, and rights of indigenous people etc) should be upheld and protected.
  1. Richard Kamei
  2. Dominic Leo
  3. Apao Remai
  4. Philemon Shangne
  5. Roderick Wijunamai
  6. Albert Povah
  7. Zajano Yanthan
  8. Akash Basumatari
  9. Saurav
  10. Karabi
  11. Samar Rabha
  12. Zaza Kipgen
  13. Nemy Tombing
  14. Vaiphei
  15. Clearance Mawite
  16. Ashonshok
  17. Duan Kamei
  18. Verahu Therie
  19. Sonam Choden
  20. Benjamin Haokip
  21. Sinmi Rungsung
  22. Somingam Hungpung
  23. Domela
Vilification from the apolitical: The Dreyfus Affair and the case against JNU: Joyojeet Pal

Photo: Courtesy csuohio.edu











The notion that we are a different, informed society that would not let a Dreyfus affair in our watch should not deceive us

In 1894, a case of espionage broke out in France. Alfred Dreyfus, a young officer was arrested in connection with a letter suggesting a transfer of sensitive documents to the German attaché in Paris. Dreyfus was arrested for the crime, his family was intimidated and he was swiftly convicted despite weak evidence. After being publicly shamed as a traitor in a court-martial, he was sent to ‘Devil’s Island’ in French Guinea, a notorious penal colony. Within a couple of years of his conviction, a movement emerged to re-examine the facts of the case. Dreyfus would be eventually re-tried and re-convicted despite overwhelming evidence in his favour.

Dreyfus was Alsatian, Jewish, and a graduate of the elite École Polytechnique, one of the most competitive institutes in the country. Alsace had been lost by France following the Franco-Prussian war, the French were bitter about this, and Alsatians were often seen as a suspicious regional minority. The case that came to be known as the “Dreyfus Affair” in time became a landmark in modern French history because of the multilayered schisms in French society that it threw open.

Two more trials took place in interim between the two of Dreyfus himself – a judicial inquest of the officer, Ferdinand Esterhazy, suspected of doctoring evidence and framing Dreyfus, and a defamation case against Émile Zola, a writer who publicly supported Dreyfus in a landmark open letter to the president published in the socialist newspaper L’Aurore titled “j’accuse” (I accuse). In both cases, mobs of people followed the proceedings or waited outside courthouses. Esterhazy was found innocent to cheering supporters,[1] Zola on the other hand was publicly maligned for his seditious letter by invoking his foreign origins (his father was Italian). His trial ended with him receiving the maximum possible sentence for defamation.

There were multiple layers of victimhood and perpetration in the Dreyfus case. Clearly, the man himself was the prime victim, but those that stood with him were as well. The communities by extension – Jews, Alsatians, were targeted. Public figures, even people in the military, who believed in his innocence were attacked. The press at the time in France started as rabidly anti-Dreyfus, with few outlets willing to publish arguments counter to a mainstream discourse of Dreyfus’ guilt.[2]

The Dreyfus Affair has become a textbook study on organized prejudice in the name of nationalism. Its roots or outcomes are too broad (and disagreed upon) for a serious discussion here. But what matters here is the way it contributed to the mobilization of the French intelligentsia on one hand, and a construction of the “anti-national” in the imagination of the public.

The Dreyfus Affair has become a textbook study on organized prejudice in the name of nationalism. Its roots or outcomes are too broad (and disagreed upon) for a serious discussion here. But what matters here is the way it contributed to the mobilization of the French intelligentsia on one hand, and a construction of the “anti-national” in the imagination of the public. L’Aurore published a note called the “Manifesto of the Intellectuals”,[3] something of a modern day “Sign this Petition” which called for a revision of the verdict. The note, an early modern case of mobilizing the intelligentsia, spurred a radical reaction from opponents.

It split French society into Dreyfusards and anti-Drefusards, depending on one’s position on the guilt of Dreyfus. Mobs of people agitated against the any change in the original verdict, not just in the capital but in small towns all over France, despite the specifics of the case never being entirely clear. The media frenzy was led by ideologically driven news sources, including one of the key players – La Libre Parole, which was published by an organization known as the anti-Semitic League. For Dreyfusards, speaking up in his favour meant accusing the state. They could be tried under criminal jurisdiction (since it was technically hurtful to the taxpayer), whereas the verbal and media attacks on them by public figures and the media alike were administered by the weaker civil adversarial system.

While many students and thinkers did stand with Dreyfus, the overall Dreyfusard identity[4] was by no means restricted to just a small educated elite – many citizens from across various walks of life stood against the conviction and treatment of Dreyfus. Nonetheless, dubbing it intellectual helped to other it as an elite movement. Besides physical attacks and intimidation, the very term ‘intellectual’ was condemned and equated with excessive cerebrality, vanity, and effeminacy. [5] The notion of intellectuals interfering in matters of the law and nation were attacked as being out of place.[6]

Although Dreyfus was re-convicted, he was offered a full pardon if he accepted he was guilty. He took the deal.

There aren’t necessarily perfect parallels between the Dreyfus case – but correspondences are probably running through your mind right now.

If you are on the JNU campus, you have already been labeled one way or another. If you had anything to do with the campus and your credentials are known, you could find that the scar of deviance can follow you home. If you had the momentary lapse of reason to give yourself the POTA court equivalent complimentary defence by showing up on TV shows like NewsHour, the chances are your kin are now finding guilt by association of something you didn’t exactly know you were on trial for. If you are a stand-up comic who has said anything, ever that someone found repulsive enough to make the news, you learnt your lesson well before. Kanhaiya Kumar learnt the hard way.

In these past days you have almost certainly seen an othering category used as a callout to a suspicious minority – Kashmiri, Communist, Muslim. You have seen this happen on mainstream media that you trust or trusted. You have seen doctored evidence, you have seen citizens and mainstream media invoke doctored evidence even after they know it has been doctored. You have seen citizens turn researchers with technical investigations into the national cost of subsidizing college for dissenters. You have perhaps witnessed gentle forms of street justice carried out by citizen-judges.

You have probably also seen this played out on social media. You have found your acquaintances divided by what they choose to share and comment on. You have probably seen threads of conversations with two, or perhaps more sides talking back and forth with no changes in position. You have probably unfriended or unfollowed people, or had those done to you. You been enthralled by or dismayed with a video, article, or social media rant that an acquaintance has forwarded you, and in turn been surprised by where they stand on a certain issue, positively or otherwise.

If you’ve got into the comments section of any conversation, the chances are you’ve either called someone an anti-national, been called one, or at least seen someone else be called one. You may even have wondered if you are one. You may reminisce back to the days when being called a traitor meant something. You had to work to earn it, like Madan Puri wearing a Mao outfit in a den with beeping lights.

There is something refreshing about a vilification from the ‘apolitical’ – those that claim they do not get involved in politics, except when the nation is insulted. Then they cannot bear it. It claims legitimacy in presenting itself as Shiva’s third eye, powerful by the rarity of its invocation. If you thought you were an intellectual or knew one, you may have enjoyed the pleasure of being called a communist pinko. If you wrote a blog post, maybe you got nailed for being a presstitute. If you liked or retweeted the wrong link, perhaps someone even labeled you an intellectual, in their minds or to your face.

The attacks on the JNU students have hit home in personal ways that they did not in the past. ‘Intellectuals’ who have made their positions on the JNU issue public have been told to stay out of judicial matters,[7] and self-appointed speakers for the nation (film star Anupam Kher, for instance) have tweeted that to the opponents of the current movement as cockroaches who should be exterminated. Not only is the language disconcertingly reminiscent of Rwandan public media in the run up to the events of 1994, but that the message was among the most widely retweeted and favorited messages on Indian social media in 2016 should be sufficiently chilling.[8]

The mobilization of the apolitical has meant that outrage is no longer just the job of those who will willingly stand up to lathis, deal with FIRs, subject their dear ones to infamy, or sneak in a stone in the middle of an active mob. We may not get named as traitors on nationwide dailies, but perhaps a neighbor will desecrate our doorbells for signing the wrong petition. The spectacle of a new form of public execution, full with the delight of jeering on, is now ours at the click of a mouse.

It is exactly this that should remind us that our history is not far behind us. The notion that we are a different, informed society that would not let a Dreyfus affair in our watch should not deceive us. We have, if anything, far better weapons of both propaganda and self-deception at our behest. More importantly, we have the means to validate our ideas through our apolitical networks. The “La Libre Paroles” may be alive and well in today’s shouting media environment, but social media offers the ways to repeat stories, to track reputations, and to turn the number of ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ into a metric of verity. Unlike the television that offers music videos or soaps as possibilities to switch channels to, the political in social media is braided into your very presence online. How many feeds can you block?

Our memory for spite remains the same a hundred years on. Dreyfus went back into the army. He fought again for the country where he was once the most hated man. He won medals for valour. But being confirmed a traitor comes with some permanence. The teeth you lose in dark solitary confinement don’t come back.

[1] Another officer, Hubert-Joseph Henry was found to be the one who doctored the evidence against Dreyfus. After his arrest, Henry committed suicide in jail. Supporters gathered together to pool together resources for his family, the cash donations frequently accompanied anti-Semitic letters from citizens

[2] While members of the Catholic clergy were openly complicit with the anti-Dreyfus movement, even the socialists, in this period, were considerably anti-Semitic, with the image of the Jewish capitalist frequently invoked as an opponent to worker rights.

[3] Georges Clemenceau, a politician and future wrote the ‘Manifesto of Intellectuals’ at the time, which came to be

[4] Indeed there are several types of Dreyfusards depending on what stage one started supporting Dreyfus’ cause, and whether the support was for Dreyfus per se or the broader anti-Semitism.

[5] This builds on Guy de Maupassant’s characterization of the intellectual, as referenced in Charle, C. (1998). Naissance des” intellectuels”: 1880-1900. Éds. de Minuit.

[6] Drake, D. (2005). The Dreyfus Affair and the Birth of the ‘Intellectuals’. In French intellectuals and politics from the Dreyfus affair to the occupation (pp. 8-34). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

[7] A note from the Overseas Friends of BJP to specific academics who voiced support for JNU students was posted on Facebook stating “You would be attempting to intervene in the judicial proceeding in India by putting political pressure on the Indian government. It would be seen as a misuse of the clout and respect bestowed to you by your profession and Institute to destabilize democratic and constitutional processes of a foreign government”

[8] Exact text from the tweet by @AnupamPKher on February 20, 2016: घरों में पेस्ट कंट्रोल होता है तो कॉक्रोच, कीड़े मकोड़े इत्यादि बाहर निकलते है। घर साफ़ होता है।वैसे ही आजकल देश का पेस्ट कंट्रोल चल रहा है।

Courtesy: Kafila
'What is happening in India today is similar to the McCarthy era': Partha Chatterjee



There is something ominously new in the manner in which the attack against freedom of thought and expression has been launched this time, says the noted political scientist

Full text of the statement titled by the noted professor of political science to his colleagues and students at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata

This is not the first time that freedom of thought and expression has been attacked in the Indian university. But there is something ominously new in the manner in which the attack has been launched this time.

We know that the sedition charge was applied across the board by British colonial rulers against anyone who expressed anti-colonial or nationalist views. Writers, artists, poets, and thousands of students and teachers were arrested for sedition alongside political leaders and agitators. But the British colonial officers, who were themselves among the best students of British universities who sat in a fiercely competitive examination to enter the highest paid civil service in the world, respected the British principle of the self-governing university. The unwritten rule that the police must not enter a university campus was observed in the early decades of independent India when I went to college. Student agitators engaged in a street fight with the police would often run for safety into the college campus, and the police would unfailingly stop at the college gates. The rule began to be violated from the 1970s. In regions of the country rocked by political agitation, the university campus was drawn into partisan conflicts between the government and the opposition. Students and teachers were arrested on charges of participating in violent agitations. Needless to say, in the North-eastern states or Kashmir, where state repression is long-standing and indiscriminate, the university campus was not spared.

Not since the Emergency

But I cannot remember, except for the period of the Emergency in 1975-77, a national campaign that asserts that certain political questions cannot even be talked about in the university. Are we to accept that national loyalty must be so unquestioned that the origins and present status of the nation and its boundaries, the nature of the constitution and the laws, the mutual relations between different regions and cultures, the demands of oppressed peoples and minority groups, cannot even be discussed and debated among students and teachers? One would have thought that such debates were the very essence of a democratic public life. And of all public places, the university campus is the most precious arena where freedom of thought and expression is the foundation of the vibrant intellectual life of a nation. Even in the United States, that paradise of market-controlled capitalism, university professors are protected by tenured appointments on the specific ground that they must not be exposed to victimisation for the content of what they teach or publish. This demand was recognised after the experience of the notorious McCarthy witch hunt against alleged communists in the 1950s.

What is happening in India today is similar to the McCarthy era. Whether the alleged “anti-national” slogans were raised on the campuses of Hyderabad University or JNU by those who have been charged is, of course, important for the future careers of those students – for Rohith Vemula the matter is, tragically, beyond rectification. But as far as the broader issues are concerned, that is beside the point.

What school of jurisprudence is it that claims that a sentence of capital punishment pronounced by the courts and the subsequent political decision to carry out the execution cannot be debated in a democratic public forum, especially in a university?

What is the constitutional theory that says that the existing boundaries of the nation-state or the structure of relations between the constituent units of the Indian Union are not open to question when only the other day the Indian government transferred dozens of hitherto Indian villages to neighbouring Bangladesh through a treaty and the number of constituent states of the Union and their federal relations are regularly changed by constitutional amendments?

Or is it the claim that while grave matters like these might be left to the mature decisions of politicians, impressionable students must not be exposed to such dangerous scepticism? Is the plan then to turn the university into some sort of patriotic seminary designed to produce brainwashed nationalist morons?

A blanket licence

While we may be forgiven for laughing about the farcical quality of the latest campaign, with such gems as the decision to fly national flags from 207-foot high steel poles on every Central university campus, it is actually spine-chilling in its implications. What has now been sanctioned by the highest political authorities of the country is a blanket licence to every Hindu right-wing vigilante group to target individuals belonging to the Left-Dalit-minority fraternity on university campuses. They can be identified as “anti-national” simply on the basis of their political convictions. Charges of sedition brought by the police would help, but it does not matter in the least if they do not hold up in court. The object is to smear and intimidate. The extreme example was set by the murder last year of MM Kalburgi. What we are seeing today in the attack on Kanhaiya Kumar and his friends in the Patiala House court or on Professor Vivek Kumar of JNU in Gwalior may only be the beginning of a long and bloody series.

A great deal is at stake. We must be strong, resilient and united.

Courtesy: Scroll.in
Blaphemy or sedition: Poems for our times

There is a Spot upon the Earth

There is a spot upon the earth
Where people stand firm and true
On behalf of those the Fat Cat shuns—
It’s called JNU.
 
The Fat Cat marshals violent hordes,
Enforcement winks assent;
The truth—it sneaks from subterfuge.
The mask of tyranny is rent.
 
The Fat Cat does not questions like.
He pushes them under the flag;
The camouflage does not suffice
To lock people in the bag.
 
Coming days will surely tell
The fake from the noble passion—
Do flags and heroes or little people
Make up the real nation.
----------------------------------

Blasphemy or Sedition

We are a continent of choice,
You are free to choose either one—
Speak freely of god or man,
And pick blasphemy or sedition.
 
Be not your hate of our kind
But deriving from atrocity,
You invite either sedition
Or embrace blasphemy.
 
Our hates are nationalist—
Yours dangerously just;
Should you insist to disagree,
Well, l we destroy you must.
 
God is that we think is god,
And State is what suits us best;
Refusing either postulate—
The police will have to do the rest.