The statement below represents the concerns of JNU’s international alumni, and a wider global academic community of friends and comrades. The support demonstrated by the names below testifies that JNU is far more than a besieged university campus in India. JNU stands for a vital imagination of the space of the university – an imagination that embraces critical thinking, democratic dissent, student activism, and the plurality of political beliefs. It is this critical imagination that the current establishment seeks to destroy. And we know that this is not a problem for India alone. Similar attacks on critical dissent and university spaces are being attempted and resisted across the world.
If you would like to stand in solidarity with the students and faculty of JNU, and the ethos of university spaces everywhere, please mention your name and current institutional affiliation in the ‘Comments’ section. Also, in case you are a JNU alumnus, please mention the year you graduated. This list will be regularly updated.
We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi against the illegal ongoing police action since February 9, 2016. With them, we affirm the autonomy of the university as a non-militarized space for freedom of thought and expression. Accordingly, we condemn police presence on campus and the harassment of students on the basis of their political beliefs.
The charge of sedition, under the guise of which the police have been given a carte blanche to enter the JNU campus, to raid student hostels, arrest and detain students, including Kanhaiya Kumar, the current president of the JNU Students Union, is an alibi for the incursion of an authoritarian regime onto the university campus. Under Indian law sedition applies only to words and actions that directly issue a call to violence. The peaceful demonstration and gathering of citizens does not constitute criminal conduct. The police action on JNU campus is illegal under the constitution of India.
An open, tolerant, and democratic society is inextricably linked to critical thought and expression cultivated by universities in India and abroad. As teachers, students, and scholars across the world, we are watching with extreme concern the situation unfolding at JNU and refuse to remain silent as our colleagues (students, staff, and faculty) resist the illegal detention and autocratic suspension of students. We urge the Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University to protect members of the university community and safeguard their rights.
Dated/- 15 February 2016
- Asma Abbas, Bard College at Simon’s Rock
- Syed Shahid Abbas, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, U.K.
- Gilbert Achcar, SOAS, University of London
- Katie Addleman, University of Toronto
- Barun Adhikary, JNU
- Aniket Aga, Yale University Continue reading SOLIDARITY STATEMENT BY JNU ALUMNI AND INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC COMMUNITY