Kafila has been receiving a huge number of solidarity statements from around the world in support of JNU students who have been arrested or charged recently. 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:
- Teachers at Delhi University
- Professional Staff Congress, the City University of New York faculty and staff union (PSC-CUNY)
- Pinjra Tod, Delhi.
- Academics, Students, Writers, Academics and Activists from Australia.
- U.S Community Organisations.
- Students and Faculty at Johns Hopkins University, U.S.
- Academicians in Gujarat
- Students at Cornell University, U.S.
- South Asian Communities at Tufts and Harvard Universities, U.S
- Students, Faculty and Other Workers at Duke University, U.S.
- Mumbai students.
Please click on “read more” for the statements and signatories:
- 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.
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
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 Center@FHI 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.