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

 

 

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