Tag Archives: JNU student protests

Come on man, be clear, what comes first—Nation, or Democracy? Bodhisattva Kar translated by Ahona Panda

Guest Post by Bodhisattva Kar and Ahona Panda

(Written by Bodhisattva Kar in Bengali, First published in on 18 February 2016 by the Ei Samay newspaper.Translated into English by Ahona Panda)

“To you I confess today—what you all call a patriot, I am not of that kind.” After this confession of sparkling clarity, should we not catch hold of that man as an anti-national? So what if he is dead? If the dead can be rewarded with the Bharat Ratna, why can’t we frame the dead with a few charges of sedition? For God’s sake, all you good people, how did you make a song written by this man the national anthem? The man who—without any obfuscation—speaks through the mouth of the protagonist of Char Adhyaya—“They who do not take cognizance of that which is greater than patriotism, their patriotism is like crossing on a crocodile’s back.” Where did he get the audacity to dream of something greater than patriotism? And, he did not even study at JNU. “By killing the very soul of the country, the country’s life can be resuscitated: this terrible untruth is being announced in beastly roars by nationalists around the world and it makes my heart revolt with intolerable intensity.” How can you not burn the books produced by such a treacherous son of Mother India, who said such terribly instigatory things? Why do you worship him instead? Can anyone put their hand on their hearts and say that he wasn’t a Pakistani spy, just because of the niggling detail that Pakistan did not exist at the time he was writing? Did we not shoot Dabholkar or Pansare for agonizing quite a bit less than he did? Continue reading Come on man, be clear, what comes first—Nation, or Democracy? Bodhisattva Kar translated by Ahona Panda

Manipur Solidarity Statement for JNU

Guest Post by a group of Concerned Individuals from Manipur

We, the undersigned, are appalled by the conduct of the present regime against Jawaharlal Nehru University where students are being hunted down for debating on an issue which is also close to the heart of Manipur.

There is critical need for deepening dialogue on the very idea of India so that many nations and nationalities have space for their expressions rather than stifling them within a very narrow definition of India. There are very few institutions in India where such a debate can take place, and a healthy debate will allow India to be critical of itself ensuring a more vibrant multicultural and multi-national India.

We strongly believe that universities must be non-militarized spaces where students and teachers are able to freely engage on topics such as the one that took place in JNU. They must not be suppressed ideologically and militarily in the name of national security. Back here, there is military occupation in the heart of Manipur University. Yes, in the name of security. And it is time the military completely withdraws away from the sites of learning and knowledge.

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From Concerned Citizens of Gujarat to the President of India on JNU Incidents

Guest Post by Concerned Citizens of Gujarat

MEMORANDUM  To  Shri Pranab Mukherji, The President of India,New Delhi, India

 Sir,

We the citizens of Gujarat would like to share our deep concern about the series of happenings from 9th of February to 18th of February.

While dissociating ourselves from anti India pro Pakistan slogans in JNU campus, we are horrified to watch the unprecedented authoritarian arm twisting punitive measures like witch hunt in the campus and slapping Sedition Charge on President of JNU Students Union, Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar by the BJP led NDA Govt at Centre as per the direction of Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh and Human resources Minister Smt. Smriti Irani.

The police interference in JNU Campus, slapping the Sedition Charge on the President of JNU students Union Mr. Kanhaiya is condemnable.

The chain of incidents of hooliganism, like repeated attack on Kanhaiya Kumar in Patiala house court, attack on teachers and students, journalists, hooting the Supreme Court appointed five members panel as anti-National by the forces in the presence of police appeared to be backed by the ruling party BJP and its’ outfits expose the absence of safety of the citizens even in the court premises. This open terrorizing tactics has been prompted by the Govt. in power, police and hoodlums to send a loud message to scuttle the freedom of expression endanger democracy and democratic institutions in our country.

Defying the Supreme Court’s order tantamounting to contempt, the repeated attacks on Kanhaiya Kumar and journalists is nothing but the fascist onslaught to muzzle the voices of dissent.   Casting anyone anti- BJP and anti-Govt as anti- national and any one pro BJP as patriots is to say the least, quite ridiculous.

The attackers like BJP MLA O.P Sharma, numbers of so- called black coat worn advocates like Mr.Vikram Chauhan are moving freely and side by side the lies are fabricated to mislead the people in the name of Nationalism and patriotism.

There are worldwide condemnation including in our country against of arrests, sedition charge, attacks on journalists, academician but all these have no effect on the attitude of the Govt. and the authority.

We the citizens endorse the voices raised by concerned citizens across the country and world.

Under this circumstances we would like to reiterate that Universities are the space for open debates and polemics and we request your intervention to save the democracy, autonomy of the universities, safeguard the freedom of expression and provide security to all citizens.

 We demand

  • Release of Kanhaiya Kumar
  • Repeal of sedition charge
  • Stop police interference in universities
  • The security of all citizens, media persons be ensured
  • Arrest the BJP MLA and  lawyers like Vikram Chauhan and other identified persons responsible for attacks
  • Institute impartial inquiry into the whole affair.

Continue reading From Concerned Citizens of Gujarat to the President of India on JNU Incidents

Wanted Students Surface in JNU: JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora and Umar Khalid Speaking to Students

[ In a dramatic new development, four students, Umar Khalid (ex-DSU), Anirban (ex-DSU), Rama Naga and Asutosh (AISA),  from amongst the list of  ‘students wanted by the police’ resurfaced on the night of Sunday, 21 February, and stayed with their fellow students till the early hours of Monday, February 22 on the JNU campus. Reportedly, they are still on campus, with their fellow students. One of them, Umar Khalid, spoke at a large gathering in front of the administration block, where all protesting students have been meeting. The gathering was also addressed by the Jawahar Lal Nehru Students’ Union (JNUSU) vice-president and All India Students Association (AISA) activist, Shehla Rashid Shora (against whom there are no charges made out by the police at the moment). The police, did not enter the campus at that time, given the very large number of students who had gathered in solidarity with their ‘wanted’ friends. The statements of the JNUSU vice president, Shehla Rashid Shora, and of Umar Khalid (who is one of students ‘wanted’ by the police), were recorded by a correspondent of the online portal, Catchnews.com during the early hours of Monday, 22nd February, as they addressed the gathered students. We are sharing those recordings, with thanks to Catchnews.com, with our transcript/translation of what was said by both Shehla and Umar. As is clear from both statements, the students are not in hiding, they are offering peaceful resistance, and the charges of sedition against them are utterly without foundation. Listen, and read, for yourselves.]

Continue reading Wanted Students Surface in JNU: JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora and Umar Khalid Speaking to Students

Oxford University Members and Alumni in Solidarity with JNU: Oxford Students, Faculty and Alumni

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.

Continue reading Oxford University Members and Alumni in Solidarity with JNU: Oxford Students, Faculty and Alumni