Guest Post by students, faculty and alumni of Oxford University, UK
We, the undersigned members and alumni of the University of Oxford, stand firmly in solidarity with fellow students, teachers and scholars at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). We condemn the ongoing persecution of the student community in JNU, in particular the arrest of JNU Students Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar under sedition charges. We protest the use of institutional and state machinery to stifle dissent on campuses, and the attempt to persecute those whose views do not conform to the narrow narratives of ‘nationalism’, ‘nationhood’ and ‘Indian culture’ promoted and endorsed by the ruling party. We view the crackdown in JNU in a continuum with the use of state machinery to clamp down on dissenting views and ideologies on campuses, most prominently at the FTII, Jadavpur University, IIT-Madras and the University of Hyderabad (UoH). We would like to point out that it was a similar witchhunt, backed by state authority, that led to the suicide of Dalit scholar and student leader of the Ambedkar Students’ Association, Rohith Vemula. We also stand in solidarity with the ongoing rally hunger strike at UoH and the struggles of the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, demanding justice for Rohith Vemula.