Concerned health activists and health professionals and women’s rights activists have issued the following statement against the brutal use of force by the police against students, especially in Jamia Millia Islamia and AMU.
We, the health networks, health activists, health professionals, Women’s Rights Activists and concerned activists strongly condemn this abhorrent act by the police force on the students of Jamia Milia Islamia University, Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University, Uttar Pradesh on 15th – 16th December 2019.
Following is a statement by the faculty, researchers and students of the University of Southern Florida, USA, in support of the struggle of students across universities against CAA and NRC.
We, the undersigned, faculty, postdoctoral fellows, students, and alumni of University of South Florida (USF), in strongest possible terms,condemn the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and assault and police crackdown on anti-CAA protests across India. We staged a protest on USF’s Tampa campus on December 19, the day widespread protests were organized across India on this issue. Even though our protest is India-specific, this is about protecting democracy and minority rights.
The Indian government recently passed the CAA, which we believe, allows for the first time in secular India, a citizenship provision based on religion. When combined with National Register of Citizens (NRC), and National Population Register (NPR), the CAA can strip Indian Muslims of their rights and citizenship.The NRC and NPR also threaten transgender communities, dalits, the homeless, indigenous communities, and others who will not be able to provide necessary documents.We believe that the Indian government’s actions are unconstitutional and fundamentally violate the principles of equality and non-discrimination in a democracy. Continue reading Support for Anti CAA/NRC Struggle from University of South Florida→
Statements of support for the students’ struggle against the CAA and NRC continue to pour in. We will try and keep publishing as many as we can. In this post is a statement from the University of British Columbia, Canada.
We, the students, faculty, alumni and scholars of the University of British Columbia, and the South Asian community in Vancouver, strongly condemn the police violence unleashed on students protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens of India, across universities in India. Specifically, we condemn the police brutality on Muslim students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University where the excessive violence of police machinery is reflective of the Islamophobia of the present government. We strongly oppose the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act which inherently discriminates citizenship for Muslims on religious grounds. The Act provides citizenship to six religious minority communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan while it explicitly leaves out Muslims. Citizenship Amendment Act (passed on December 11, 2019) along with National Register of Citizens of India and National Population Register will bring about systematic displacement and dispossession of two hundred million Muslims in India as their citizenship will be put to test and they can be easily rendered stateless. Continue reading Support for Struggling Students from University of British Columbia→
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.
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.
Report from Kashmir by a team from the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) and the Free Speech Collective (FSC) .
A month after the 5 August abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the continuing shutdown of communication in the Kashmir valley has resulted in the throttling of independent media. As journalists continue to face severe restrictions in all the processes of news-gathering, verification and dissemination, the free flow of information has been blocked, leaving in its wake a troubled silence that bodes ill for freedom of expression and media freedom.
In this, the latest and most intense phase in the ongoing conflict on Kashmir, the government of India has pulled out all the stops – political, legislative, militaristic and punitive. It has detained and arrested scores of people, including leaders of mainstream political parties. No other democratic government has attempted a communication blockade of this scale in Kashmir.
In an effort to determine the impact of the severe crackdown on communication on the media in Kashmir, a two-member team from the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) and the Free Speech Collective (FSC) spent five days in the Valley between 30 August and 3 September. The team spoke* to more than 70 journalists, correspondents and editors of newspapers and news-sites in Srinagar and South Kashmir, members of the local administration and citizens.
Key findings : Curbs on the media and its implications
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.
“The number you are calling is currently switched off. Please try again later.” This has been the stock computerized response I have heard on calling a friend in Jammu and Kashmir over the last twenty odd days, and still counting. The chirpy, happily surprised voice I heard across our mobiles when I informed my young friend about my sudden arrival in Srinagar last January is too stark a contrast to register today. ‘Lockdown’ is the new buzzword for Kashmir these days.
All links of communication with the rest of the country having been snapped in one fell swoop, it doesn’t quite require much of an effort for any sensitive human being to imagine how life must be for all the folk out there. Nor should it take much of an imagination for such a human being to think of the plight of Kashmiris in the rest of the country dying to hear the voices of near and dear ones separated thus.
I write this open letter to you as a well wisher, and someone who has been seriously supportive of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) through all the ups and downs in the years since its formation. Perhaps like many others, I too have high expectations of the experiment that AAP is and the new ground it has tried to break in terms of providing a government that has steadfastly kept the interests of the common person in mind while taking decisions.
But I also write this letter because I, like many others, have been perturbed by some developments which do not augur well for the future either of your party or of the country. The latter in any case, is set on a disastrous course, thanks to the current dispensation at the Centre. Let me also make it clear right away that I am not one of those who criticize AAP for ‘lacking a clear ideology’ and I in fact value the fact that on many critical issues, AAP has been able to resist the pressure to step into well trodden, familiar responses to specific situations and issues – especially well trodden among Leftists. But I do think that AAP needs to think a bit more seriously about politics – which is not the same thing as ideology.
Economist Jean Dreze, Kavita Krishnan of the CPI(ML) and the All India Progressive Women’s Association, Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women’s Association and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People’s Movements released the following report to the press today, 14 August 2019, after spending five days in Kashmir, meeting and talking to people.
We spent five days (9-13 August 2019) traveling extensively in Kashmir. Our visit began on 9 August 2019 – four days after the Indian government abrogated Articles 370 and 35A, dissolved the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.
When we arrived in Srinagar on 9 August, we found the city silenced and desolated by curfew, and bristling with Indian military and paramilitary presence. The curfew was total, as it had been since 5th August. The streets of Srinagar were empty and all institutions and establishments were closed (shops, schools, libraries, petrol pumps, government offices, banks). Only some ATMs and chemists’ shops – and all police stations – were open. People were moving about in ones and twos here and there, but not in groups.
Determined, defiant – not the Kashmiri women of Sanghi fantasies
Protest in Srinagar against the abrogation of Article 370 on August 11, 2019, despite the clampdown by the Indian government. Image courtesy The Wall Street Journal.
When trolls on social media started circulating photographs of young Kashmiri girls, gloating, “now we can marry them”, it was only the overt manifestation by Sanghis of the real spirit behind abrogating Article 370. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi held forth at length on development, rights to education, rights for women and for Dalits, all of which the people of J&K were deprived of because of Article 370, the truth of course, is that J&K stands in the top 10 to 15 states on different indicators ranging from life expectancy, people served per government doctor, poverty rate and infant mortality rate, to human development index.
Or as Haseeb Drabu puts it:
The level of economic empowerment is evident from the fact that more than 25% of the household earnings in J&K are from own cultivation. In “prosperous” Punjab, it is only 18%, in “vibrant” Gujarat, it is less than 16% and in “terrific” Tamil Nadu, it is only 3%. And yet, J&K is being portrayed as a “sick” state.
The German acceptance for stolpersteine plaques helps them honour victims of Nazism. One wonders if it will ever be possible to take up similar projects in this part of South Asia.
Hier Wohnte Bernhard Marx
‘Here lived Bernhard Marx
Year of Birth 1897
It was while walking past a desolate street in Bonn that we stumbled upon some brass plates on which the names of the members of a family were engraved. The name Bernhard, supposedly the head of this family, was engraved on the first plate, followed by three to his right: Erna Marx Geb Hartman, (born 1899), Helena (1929) and Julie (1938).
This was an ill-fated Jewish family from Bonn, deported to the dreaded Minsk concentration—rather extermination—camp that was brutally murdered just four days after they got there. The youngest, Julie was barely four when she died.
Estimates of how many died in this camp over a period of two years vary but at least 65000, mainly Jews, perished there until it was liberated by the Soviet forces.
The young researcher who was our host and guide to the city said that the brass plaques, raised on stone, are called stolpersteine. Stolper means to stumble in German and steine means stone. The idea behind erecting stolpersteine is to raise awareness about events that took place in the late thirties and early forties in this region, when millions of innocent people—Jews, Romas, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and political dissidents—were sent to the gas chambers or brutally killed by the Nazi regime.
This is the story of a young man who made it to the premier institution of IIT Kanpur against heavy odds, but was then let down by the system and people at the institute. Yet, he showed exemplary courage and stood up for his rights firmly but gently. The story also highlights the frailties of human nature and the vindictiveness that can mar human actions. It is a story that needs to be told.
IIT Kanpur, like all other IITs, has very few faculty from reserved categories. An initiative was taken in August 2017 with an exclusive advertisement for faculty under various reserved categories. The applications received were sent to the respective departments for evaluation, and the shortlisted candidates were called for seminars. The protagonist of this story, Dr SS (I am using initials for the key players for convenience, all names are in the public domain), who is from a scheduled caste of Andhra Pradesh, was shortlisted in the Aerospace Engineering department. He did both his M.Tech and Ph.D from IIT Kanpur under Professor AKG, who happened to be the head of the department at the time. Continue reading The Saderla story – courage in the face of violent prejudice: Manindra Agrawal→
Hours after the two women entered Sabarimala, the Hindu terrorists began their handiwork. Mad mobs, including women, began to roam the streets and attack by-passers, in their desperation to foment violence and provoke riots. In Karunagappally, Muslim establishments and shops were singled out for vandalism. The Sangh-backed Sabarimala Action Council called for a hartal today and they have spared no effort to make sure that people are terrorized. Continue reading Hindutva Terror and Left Hegemony: After Women’s Entry into Sabarimala→
On the night of November 12th 2018, more than fifty people from Sittilingi, a village in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu, made their way back home from Dharmapuri Government Medical College Hospital with the body of a 16-year-old Adivasi (Malaivasi) girl. The girl had been raped on November 5th by two drunk men, and had died in the hospital five days later – a death that her family have described as linked to blatant police negligence, beginning with their refusal to file an FIR, and involving the questionable role of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Dharmapuri. Manjunathan*, a resident of Sittilingi, says that on November 12th, around ten police vehicles and 100 policemen had followed the girl’s funeral procession through the village, all the way to the graveyard. “Till now we have never seen the police,” Manjunathan attests, “now suddenly, since the day of the protest, they have remained in the village, especially at the junction, harassing people.”
Yesterday’s high drama at Sabarimala told us quite a lot about the games that politicians play in Kerala. Rehana Fatima, a young woman activist who decided to take the challenge (it is now a challenge, since the trekking path to the shrine is in effect controlled by Hindutva goons heaping verbal abuse, threatening open violence, and using children as shields) had to face not only the naked threats of the so-called bhakths and the vandalisation of her home at Kochi by the same elements, she had also to swallow the Kerala Minister Kadakampally Surendran’s jibe that Sabarimala was not a playground for ‘activists’! By saying so, he hinted that only ‘pure’, ‘untainted’ women believers who are apparently by definition not activists, can be helped by the Kerala Police to reach the shrine. So much for Pinarayi Vijayan’s evocation of Kerala’s legacy of enlightened Hinduism!
We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the raid on Dr. Satyanarayana and Pavana’s official university residence, conducted by the Pune police as part of their recent raids on activists in India.
Dr. Satyanarayana is currently Head of the Department of Cultural Studies and Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. He has been instrumental in establishing Dalit Studies as an academic discipline and he has co-edited landmark books on dalit studies and vernacular dalit literatures, including Steel Nibs are Sprouting, No Alphabet in Sight and Dalit Studies. Pavana is a lecturer in Hyderabad and a founding member of the Andhra Pradesh Chaitanya Mahila Samakhya, an organization working for women’s rights. She was also editor of the Telugu feminist magazine Mahila Margam. Dr. Satyanarayana and Pavana are the son-in-law and daughter of poet and activist Varavara Rao, one of five people arrested in the raids.