Support for the students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University is continuously pouring in from different of the world as people watch the horrors perpetrated by the Indian police on unarmed, peacefully protesting students. The following is yet another of an international statements of support.
We, the undersigned, condemn the recent spate of state violence unleashed against students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) by the ruling BJP government. We are students studying in various universities and educational institutions outside of India, and are extremely appalled to see the brazen attack on the democratic rights of students across universities in India. Students of JMI and AMU have been protesting against the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA), which enforces a highly selective citizenship criteria based on faith that excludes Muslims and effectively reduces the status of millions of Muslims in India to ‘illegal migrants’. The police have shown zero restraint in their attempt to suppress the agitations and it is clear that the students are violently targeted because of their Muslim identity. Continue reading Another International Statement Condemning State Violence Against Students of JMI and AMU
Following is a statement issued by current and former faculty members and students of the University of Warwick in solidarity with the ongoing struggle of the students against the new citizenship law.
As students, alumni and faculty members of the University of Warwick, we stand in solidarity with all students in India who are engaged in protests against the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. We believe that the right to dissent, protest and demonstrate are fundamental rights integral to all democracies. Articles 19 (1) (a) and 19 (1) (b) of the Indian Constitution explicitly state that the right to protest is a fundamental right. Such a right is safeguarded in international human rights conventions as well.
The peaceful and non-violent demonstrations by students have been met with extraordinary police violence, particularly in Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, with recent reports from established media sources indicating that police and paramilitary forces entered university campuses and hostels by force and brutally attacked students. As a consequence, hundreds of students have been injured, some very seriously. Such police action contravenes both the Constitution of India as well as international human rights laws. We call for an immediate end to state-led violence and for proper action to be taken against the perpetrators of it. Continue reading University of Warwick In Solidarity With Students Protesting the CAA in India
The following is a statement from the alumni of NLU Jodhpur, in solidarity with the students at the receving end of police brutalities in Delhi, Aligarh, Assam and other universities.
We, the undersigned alumni of National Law University, Jodhpur unequivocally condemn the police excesses in response to student protests at Jamia Milia Islamia University, Delhi University, Aligarh Muslim University, Dibrugarh University, Gauhati University, Cotton University, Assam and other universities across India. As persons with training in constitutional laws and values, we recognize the significance of dissenting speech and assembly, and the need to preserve academic spaces as free from State coercion and militarization and to uphold the values of secularism.
Continue reading Statement in Solidarity with Students, Against Police Excesses from Alumni of National Law University, Jodhpur
We, the undersigned, condemn in the strongest possible terms the police brutality in Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, and the ongoing illegal siege and curfew imposed on Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. On 15th December 2019 Delhi police in riot-gear illegally entered the Jamia Millia campus and attacked students who are peacefully protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Act bars Muslims from India’s neighboring countries from the acquisition of Indian citizenship. It contravenes the right to equality and secular citizenship enshrined in the Indian constitution.
On the 15th at JMIU, police fired tear gas shells, entered hostels and attacked students studying in the library and praying in the mosque. Over 200 students have been severely injured, many who are in critical condition. Because of the blanket curfew and internet blockage imposed at AMU, we fear a similar situation of violence is unfolding, without any recourse to the press or public. The peaceful demonstration and gathering of citizens does not constitute criminal conduct. The police action in the Jamia Millia Islamia and AMU campuses is blatantly illegal under the constitution of India.
We stand in unconditional solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, and express our horror at this violent police and state action. With them, we affirm the right of citizens to peaceful protest and the autonomy of the university as a non-militarized space for freedom of thought and expression. The brutalization of students and the attack on universities is against the fundamental norms of a democratic society.
As teachers, students, scholars and members of civil society across the world, we are watching with extreme concern the situation unfolding at Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. We refuse to remain silent at the violence unleashed on our colleagues (students, staff, and faculty) peacefully protesting the imposition of a discriminatory and unjust law.
This statement with a full list of signatories is available here and here Jamia Millia and AMU solidarity statement.
JOIN THE PROTEST ORGANIZED BY ‘NOT IN MY NAME’ AGAINST THE CAB ON 14TH DECEMBER 3 TO 5 PM AT JANTAR MANTAR, DELHI.
WHAT IS THE CAB?
The Citizenship Amendment Bill proposes to offer Indian citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Muslims have been excluded. It is the Government’s argument that minorities of these three countries face persecution on the basis of religion.
WHAT DOES THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION SAY?
The framers of our Constitution made sure that religion and citizenship were delinked. Put together in the immediate aftermath of Partition, which witnessed the barbaric killing of lakhs of people and the uprooting of millions, the Constitution of India chose to strike out in a direction that surprised the world: our constitution guarantees citizenship irrespective of religion or any other identity. India was to be a country that belonged to all who were born here – and irrespective of their other identities. It is this sense of belonging that has kept India together.
WHY IS CAB DANGEROUS?
In the next few days Parliament will decide whether we continue to be an India that belongs to all. With the CAB we are being dragged back by more than seventy years, to follow the path of nations with a narrow minded view of citizenship, with the inevitable consequence of further divisions, partitions, enmity and violence. Continue reading Withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Bill! Not in My Name
BJP’s poll promise of Bharat Ratna for Savarkar, who inspired a wide spectrum of fanatic individuals and violent organisations, shows the moral vacuousness of the Hindutva project
“The curious fact is that as we move into the 21st century, historians have become central to politics. We historians are the monopoly suppliers of the past. The only way to modify the past that does not sooner or later go through historians is by destroying the past….Mythology is taking over from knowledge”.
It was in the wee hours of dawn of the 21st century that renowned scholar and historian, Eric Hobsbawm, had talked about the process of “destroying the past” to “modify” it or how “mythology is replacing knowledge” in his speech at Columbia University in New York City.
Much water has flown down the Ganges, the Rheins, the Yangtzes of the world and as we stand at the cusp of the third decade of the 21st century, one realises that how this process — both literally and metaphorically — has advanced to different corners of the globe.
With the ascent of Hindutva supremacist forces in polity and society in this part of the world, perhaps this process has reached its extreme, so much so that every other saffronite seems to have gathered enough confidence to claim legitimacy to any weird thing. The news that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in its election manifesto (for the Maharashtra Assembly) has promised that it would confer Bharat Ratna, the country’ topmost honour, on VD Savarkar if voted to power, should be seen in this light.
( Read the full text here : https://www.newsclick.in/Savarkar-India-Ratna-of-a-Different-Kind)
Periyar : Image – Courtesy velivada.com
क्या अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता का अधिकार महज आस्थावानों के लिए ही लागू होता है ?
कभी कभी साधारण से प्रश्न का उत्तर पाने के लिए भी अदालती हस्तक्षेप की जरूरत पड़ती है।
मद्रास उच्च न्यायालय की – न्यायमूर्ति एस मनिकुमार और सुब्रहमण्यम प्रसाद की – द्विसदस्यीय डिवीजन बेंच को पिछले दिनो ंयह दोहराना पड़ा कि अभिव्यक्ति का अधिकार – जो भारत के संविधान के तहत मिले बुनियादी अधिकारों में शुमार है – सार्वभौमिक है और इसे समयविशेष के बहुमत के आंकड़ों के आधार पर तय नहीं किया जा सकता।
मालूम हो कि किन्ही दैवानायागम ने न्यायालय में यह जनहितयाचिका दाखिल की थी और कहा था कि तमिलनाडु के त्रिची में पेरियार की मूर्ति पर जो नास्तिकता के उद्वरण दिए गए हैं, वह ‘सार्विक ईश्वर’ को माननेवालों के लिए आपत्तिजनक हैं और उन्हें हटा दिया जाए। याद रहे रामस्वामी नायक / 17 सितम्बर 1879-24 दिसम्बर 1973/ जिन्हें ‘पेरियार’ नाम से जाना जाता है, वह आत्मसम्मान आन्दोलन के अग्रणी थे, द्रविड कझगम के संस्थापक पेरियार एक जुझारू किस्म के समाज सुधारक भी थे। याचिकाकर्ता ने मूर्ति पर लिखे उद्धरण के बारे में ‘‘कोई ईश्वर नहीं है, ईश्वर नहीं है और वाकई ईश्वर नहीं है..’ के पेरियार द्वारा कहे जाने पर भी सवाल खड़े किए थे। Continue reading ‘ईश्वर नहीं है’ कहने का अधिकार
Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
The word lynching conjures up images of a dark period in the history of the United States of America. Between 1877 and 1950, white supremacist gangs murdered 4,000 African Americans, while the government and the police looked the other way. James Baldwin, whose essays Dark Days captures the unfolding violence, wrote, ‘A mob is not autonomous. It executes the real will of the people who rule the State’. In 1888, white supremacists lynched seven African American men for drinking from a well – which they had said was for ‘white’s only’. Baldwin recounts that story and writes, ‘The blood is on the hands of the state of Alabama which sent those mobs into the street to execute the will of the State’.
The lyrics quoted above are from the iconic song – Strange Fruit – written by the communist artist Abel Meeropol and sung by Billie Holiday. Continue reading Lynchistan
The Final NRC published today has excluded a whopping 19.06 lakh persons in Assam. The NRC process had shifted the burden of proof of citizenship on to the entire population of Assam, with people undergoing deep travails over the past four years to get their names included. In a poor country like ours and in a state which witnesses frequent floods, it is not unnatural that lakhs of people were unable to produce documents to prove that they or their ancestors were inhabitants of Assam before 24th March 1971. To rob people of their citizenship and rendering them stateless on the basis of this flawed process would be a gross violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.
Continue reading Exclusion of 19 Lakh People Shows the Irrationality of #NRC Exercise: Joint Forum Against NRC
Guest post by KAUSHAL BODWAL
In August 2018, it came to my knowledge that a few of my pictures wearing sarees were circulating in my extended family’s WhatsApp group. Phone calls from home regarding my “obscene” behaviour were followed by a shift in the entire conversation towards my having some illness that needed to be cured. At some point my mother called me to tell that one of my aunts knew a doctor who can heal me. My first thought was that she was joking; unfortunately, she was only too serious. Once I registered the gravity of the situation, I panicked. Even though I was staying in a closed campus, I was not sure of my family’s potential to do what they claimed they wanted to.
The issue was with both my gender expression and my sexuality. I was a male assigned at birth walking in a saree and they thought that it was because of my interest in men. One of my aunts assured my mother that my love for sarees will end once my homosexuality is cured. The next time I went home, I was anxious and terrified. I knew I had to speak to them and explain what was going on. There were going to be a lot of questions. It’s not as I had ready-made answers for them, especially since the understanding of gender and sexuality that I had was not easy to articulate in my native language of Haryanvi. Through whatever words I could, I came out to my parents. My mom cried and my father stood numb. But mostly, confused. Despite their anger and other emotional expressions, the overall emphasis was on going to a doctor to get me fixed. After all, I was sick. Continue reading Queerness as disease – a continuing narrative in 21st century India: Kaushal Bodwal
We, the undersigned concerned citizens, are extremely perturbed at the increasing tendency of the Government, through its agencies, to use excessive power to curb the voice of the people, which is the very essence of democracy.
The work of Lawyer’s Collective in general and that of Indira Jaising and Anand Grover in particular, has contributed to changing the lives not just of individuals but of citizens of a democratic republic. They have not only represented the rights of individuals and communities such as slum dwellers, workers, trade unions, prisoners, SC/ST associations, Bhopal Gas tragedy victims, women, LGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities as lawyers, but have also contributed immensely to the discourse of human rights and state accountability as public intellectuals.
Continue reading Standing up for those who stood with us – Statement of support for Lawyers Collective
Unfolding Debate about Secularising Education
( To be published in ‘Indian Journal of Secularism)
“There is in every village a torch – the teacher; and an extinguisher – the priest.”
“Keep the words God, Jesus and the devil out of the classroom.”
A school teacher’s message on the first day of the school for first-grade students had caused tremendous consternation among a section of the parents.
She had a simple rationale to present her proposal. With their being a public school with children coming from different religions and beliefs joining it, she did not “[w]ant to upset a child/parent because of these words being used,” In her letter she had also advised them to talk to the children when they go to the church/temple/synagogue – whatever might be the case – or discuss the issue at home at an appropriate time and place of talking about it.” (https://www.indystar.com/story/news/education/2017/08/30/teacher-tells-first-graders-dont-talk-god-classroom/612118001/)
Well, instead of the discussion getting fixed on the slow imposition of the concept of God or closing of child’s minds it turned into a debate on students’ free speech rights. It did not take much time for the management of the school to rescind this proposal.
There is nothing new about this dilemma faced by a teacher who has welfare of students at the center of her/his concerns. Continue reading God in the Classroom!
Guest Post by PRATIKSHA BAXI
The publication of a sworn affidavit by a former Supreme Court staffer testifying to sexual harassment by the Chief Justice of India has been treated as a scandal, whether the complainant was believed or not. And the subsequent events – an extraordinary suo moto hearing, allegations of a conspiracy against the independence of the judiciary, the in-house committee’s decision to exonerate the CJI – have evoked the normative question whether such forms of judicial exceptionalism are the necessary condition for judging in our courts.
Yet asking such questions ran the risk of being labelled as an ‘institution de-stabiliser’. The intent was to invent social consensus by deploying labelling as a technique of censoring and delegitimising feminist critique. Not so long ago women who challenged male authority were described as witches, today they are labelled anti-national, institution destabilisers, presstitutes or simply, left-liberal/JNU type.
However, whether one walks right, left, centre or zigzag, it cannot be denied that jurisprudential questions need answers beyond the specifics of this case. One would have thought that it is also in the interest of all judges to devise a procedure that is constitutionally sound and invested in gender justice, while recognising the specific problems that judges may have because of the nature of their work. And that the Supreme Court would recognise that it is in the interest of every survivor of sexual harassment, irrespective of ideology or status, to be provided normative answers.
Continue reading Sexual Harassment ‘in-house’ for the Supreme Court – is sunlight the best disinfectant? Pratiksha Baxi
The art of legitimising religiosity in a secular country and live happily ever after.
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by wise people as false and by the rulers as useful. — Seneca (4 BC-AD65)
A picture is worth a thousand words.
An outgoing Prime Minister of the ‘world’s biggest democracy’ seen meditating under the glare of cameras in a cave specially opened for the occasion and with a dress stitched for the event, conveys many things simultaneously.
First and foremost, it tells us that the present incumbent to the post would at least be remembered for his varied sartorial tastes among the galaxy of PMs who headed the republic earlier. It appears that either all the others lacked the sense to dress for the occasion or found it a mundane job not befitting the post and the responsibilities they held then. Continue reading Modi’s Meditation ‘Tour’
Condemn attempts at intimidating Prof Ram Puniyani
The Commissioner of Police
We the undersigned strongly condemn the way in which attempts were recently made to intimidate Prof Ram Puniyani by people supposedly belonging to CID. We fear that it is to silence his voice which has always remained critical of communal forces and has fought for peace and harmony.
We are told that on 9 th March three men who said they were from CID visited his home in the garb of an inquiry for passport, which neither Prof Ram Puniyani had applied for nor did anyone else from his family applied for one. What is worrisome is that they asked all kinds of objectionable questions to him and his family members.
Looking at the fact that not only the Maharashtra government but the BJP led dispensation at the center is trying to suppress all voices of dissent against their acts of omission and commission – which has generated tremendous concern among human rights defenders everywhere – we feel that this can be a precursor to involve him in some legal hassles, or implicate him in some case so that he is silenced.
It need be underlined here that Prof Ram Puniyani, who was a professor in biomedical engineering at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Bombay had taken voluntary retirement in December 2004 to work full-time for communal harmony in India. Author of many books on communal harmony and secularism, he writes regularly in different publications to strengthen voices of sanity and has consistently questioned and challenged divisive forces of various kinds and has even received the prestigious Indira Gandhi Award (2006) and National Communal Harmony Award (2007) apart from many other awards for his work.
We demand that an inquiry be ordered into this whole episode and the guilty be brought to book for their act of intimidating a widely known writer and noted activist.
( Please send your endorsements to Ms Shabnam Hashimi, firstname.lastname@example.org latest by 11 am 13 th March 10)
It is rather difficult to begin when you know that within a few days or weeks, one of your close friends could be behind bars under one of the most draconian laws crafted by this Republic.
The world knows him as Anand Teltumbde, but for me he has always been Anand.
Merely four months ago, we were together in a seminar in Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) where Anand spoke on one of his key concerns, namely, the divergence between dalit and Left movements. Continue reading My Friend Anand