Tag Archives: Umar Khalid

JNU Teachers Association condemns the arrest of Umar Khalid

Statement issued by JNUTA, representing the voices of JNU faculty 

The JNUTA condemns the arrest by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police of former JNU student, Umar Khalid, under the draconian UAPA. This is yet another instance of the never ending witch hunt being conducted by the Delhi Police in the name of inquiring into the February 2020 riots in Delhi, an inquiry with which Umar Khalid had been voluntary cooperating. The JNUTA notes that Umar Khalid had also been one of those specially targeted during the vicious slander campaign unleashed against JNU in February 2016 and had then been charged with ‘sedition’. That smear campaign fuelled by sections of the media had put his life in danger and in 2018 he fortuitously survived a murderous attack against him. Since then he was supposed to be under the ‘protection’ of the Police and yet he is accused of having been part of a ‘conspiracy’ for instigating the violence in North-East Delhi. It is clear, therefore, that his safety is at risk even when he is in custody and not just because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Continue reading JNU Teachers Association condemns the arrest of Umar Khalid

Statement about the attacks on Dalits in Bhima Koregaon & the Subsequent developments in Maharashtra : Umar Khalid

Guest Post by Umar Khalid

I went to Maharashtra as I along with other activists and intellectuals were invited to come there. I along with others was a guest there. And I would remember fondly the love and support that I received in Pune and Mumbai. I would remember the resilience and enthusiasm of the people I met and their resoluteness to fight Manuvaad and centuries old casteist tyranny. I would remember the immense inspiration that I felt, when we paid homage to Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule in Phule-wada, Pune. And, No I will not let two days of media trials by a few TV anchors, who are more of professional howlers, spoil these wonderful memories. I will not let their criminal cacophony and mindless vilification of me, Jignesh & others shadow my beautiful memories of Maharashtra.

The state of Maharashtra as well as the rest of the country is at a critical juncture today. On the one hand are forces in power who want to push our country back to many centuries and on the other are people who are resisting this Neo-Peshwahi, the casteist-communal-fascist regime of BJP-RSS. In my speech at Elgar Parishaad on 31st December 2017, I had said that the year 2018 is going to be a very challenging one. The last 3 and half years of the Modi Sarkar has exposed the BJP’s jumlas of Ache Din and Vikas as hollow, bitter and brutal lies.

As the General Elections of 2019 approach, BJP/RSS will now resort to creating civil strife amongst the people, polarising them on the basis of caste and religion and unleashing attacks on muslims and Dalits. The developments over the last few days vindicate me, a little too soon. Several regions of Maharashtra are in the midst of an acute agrarian distress. Both Marathas and Dalits are victims of this agrarian crisis that has been precipitated by the policies of both Modi and Fadnavis. The BJP/RSS regime has no resolution to offer to the farmers of Maharashtra. Therefore, unleashing attacks on Dalits through their hoodlums and portraying it as a caste clash between Dalits & Marathas will remain their only strategy. Continue reading Statement about the attacks on Dalits in Bhima Koregaon & the Subsequent developments in Maharashtra : Umar Khalid

A Tale of Two and a Half Marches – Two for Azadi and a Half for Ghulami.

[Videos of song by Shehla Rashid and of speeches by Nivedita Menon, Kavita Krishnan, Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mevani, courtesy, Samim Asgor Ali]

February gives way to March and spring returns to Delhi. And what a spring it is. The right wing thugs of the ABVP choose the wrong time to attack, once again. They must really get themselves a better astrologer, or at least a better class of charlatan who can tell them if there ever is a right time to stage their goon show. I suspect there isn’t.

Spring in DU - Fight Back DU
Spring in DU – Fight Back DU

Continue reading A Tale of Two and a Half Marches – Two for Azadi and a Half for Ghulami.

Students Protest in JNU Over Rising Civilian Casualties in Kashmir

The number of unarmed civilians killed in instances of firing by the armed forces, police and paramilitaries enforcing the occupation of Kashmir by the Indian state in the latest wave of violence has crossed fifty. Many more have been blinded by pellet guns. Hundreds have been injured and hospitalized. Reports of protests are coming not only from the Kashmir valley, Kargil, Drass and Jammu, but also from many cities in India. From Delhi (where there has been a public protest at Jantar Mantar, a press conference at Gandhi Peace Foundation and a student protest at Jawaharlal Nehru University), from Kolkata, which saw a massive turn out in a public march, from Chennai, from Patna, and from Kochi and Tricky in Kerala.

On Friday 22nd July, I went to a night protest march and public gathering by students at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. The march was called by Shehla Rashid, Vice President, JNUSU and Rama Naga, General Secretary, JNUSU (Both AISA activists) There were perhaps two hundred students gathered peacefully. The march began around 10:00 pm, made its way around the university campus and the protest continued well past midnight. Several student organizations, AISA, BASO, Hundred Flowers, Collective, DSU and individual students participated in the march. Shehla Rashid, Vice President, JNUSU and an AISA student activist, addressed the gathering before the march began, stating clearly, that this was going to be a peaceful expression of the democratic right to protest against the atrocities being enacted by the Indian state on the people of the part of Kashmir that is under Indian occupation. She asked the students to be vigilant in case any disruptive slogans were raised by planted agent-provocateurs. The entire march, and the protest meeting was documented by the students, so as to ensure that no ‘doctored videos’ would raise their ugly digital heads in the days to come. The students raised the demand for freedom for the people of Kashmir, and for people in all parts of South Asia. The slogans connected the realties of the people of Kashmir, the North East, Bastar, Jharkhand, with the experiences of Dalits, Workers, Peasants, Women, Students and Minorities. Slogans were raised against the killings and blindings by pellet guns in Kashmir. against torture, again rape, against draconian acts like AFSPA and PSA. The march made its way through the entire campus and culminated outside Chandrabhaga Hostel, where a meeting was held on the steps. The meeting lasted over two hours, was completely peaceful,and more than two hundred students listened to the speakers with close attention.

Police officers and campus security guards were present, and recorded everything. The students also recorded everything. And the indefatigable Shamim Asghor Ali made video recordings of several speeches, and uploaded them on to youtube, which we are lucky to be able to share here. We are also grateful for the still images uploaded by V. Arun, several others also took pictures and videos, which are now being shared on Facebook. Continue reading Students Protest in JNU Over Rising Civilian Casualties in Kashmir

Choice, Agency and the Naming of Names – The Trap of ‘Immediate Identities’ and the Vision of a Democratic Revolution: Chintu Kumari & Umar Khalid

Paired Guest Posts by CHINTU KUMARI and UMAR KHALID

[ Every struggle goes through highs and lows. The students who are part of the  movements that are spreading out of universities in India – Hyderabad Central University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jadavpur University have had their share of internal debates and disagreements, even as they have found moments of significant victory. and solidarity

Students at JNU who have recently concluded their hunger strike to give time to the university authorities to respond reasonably to the High Court directives on the HLEC punishments are now being criticized for having ‘abandoned the struggle’ by some sections who claim to play a role within the broader students movement, when, in fact, nothing of that sort has actually happened.

The majority of the students who were on hunger strike (including several JNUSU office bearers, and others) have said that they have given up the hunger strike against the HLEC recommendations in keeping with the court order.  In doing so, they have never said that they are suspending the agitation against the attempts by the JNU administration to weaken OBC reservation in admissions, hostel seats and deprivation points for women and oppressed sections of society.

In fact it is not as if the HLEC punishments issue has taken precedence over the other issues. It is actually the other way round. The students have decided to give priority to the struggle for ’social justice’ within the campus, while simultaneously giving time to the university authorities to respond adequately to the court directive on the HLEC punishment question.The call for a demonstration against the University Authorities by the JNUSU to continue the struggle on the social justice issues on the 16th of May is indicative of this fact.

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The attacks and insinuations against the majority of the students at JNU who were on hunger strike have also featured a deliberate attempt to create divisions within the unified ‘Red-Blue’ / ‘Jai Bhim-Lal Salaam’ dynamics of the movement on the grounds of identity. Activists, such as Umar Khalid, on the left have been singled out for being ‘Savarna-Syed’, if they happen to bear a Muslim name, and for being ‘sold out to the Savarna left’ if they are Dalit, as happened with Chintu Kumari and Rama Naga. This attack has come primarily from individuals representing organizations like BAPSA that claim to speak from a ‘Dalit’ position, and it is given traction by several other individuals eager to flaunt their disdain for the ‘left’ students on Facebook and social media.  Continue reading Choice, Agency and the Naming of Names – The Trap of ‘Immediate Identities’ and the Vision of a Democratic Revolution: Chintu Kumari & Umar Khalid

Responding to the Challenges of Blue and Red – Reminiscences of a JNU-HCU Alumna: Shipra Nigam

This is a guest post by SHIPRA NIGAM

That the past few months have been cataclysmic is an understatement. Personal tragedies and political catastrophes have exploded within our most cherished spaces, and brought a churning in them.  What was truly transformative was the experience of both the emergence of broad solidarities against right-wing fascism, and of the reminders of multiple registers and contexts within them. These underline the need for multiple conversations to understand both our common struggles, as well as the contradictions within, and to renew a resolve for introspection through them as we move towards real ‘azaadi’.

There is of course an ongoing debate on this, and here I felt that some binaries being invoked in it are not very convincing, while others brought home stark truths that pose challenges to a patriarchal, majoritarian caste hindu ordering of society, within which we are all located at different levels of hierarchy, complicity, and engagement.

I have been part of both public universities under fire right now, and the present brings home the urgency of the dual task of defending the public university as a space for pushing the boundaries of critical thought, and confronting the very hierarchies and complicities with power that shape it. This is necessary even as processes of democratisation and affirmative action take root in public institutions . So these are some reminiscences from an alumna of both these public universities who has been wrestling with articulations and complexities which lie beyond institutional labels or binaries. Continue reading Responding to the Challenges of Blue and Red – Reminiscences of a JNU-HCU Alumna: Shipra Nigam

Who will take responsibility if the threat to “storm JNU” and kill students is carried out?

One Amit Jani has received considerable media attention with his threats to JNU students, promising a ‘shoot-out’ if JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid, do not meet the ‘deadline’ he has given for them to leave campus.
Almost immediately as this came to the attention of the JNU community, students and teachers took steps to bring this threat to the attention of Facebook, where the threat was initially posted; of Delhi Police and of JNU Administration.
These steps are listed below, so that later, nobody should be able to say We Did Not Know. The media, which covers every petty letter written to the police by ABVP with great alacrity, has not seen fit to recognize the steps being taken by an increasingly anxious JNU community over clear and specific threats to the life of our students, and indeed to everyone on JNU campus.
1. JNUSU wrote to the VC, bringing this time-bound threat to his attention. JNUSU also filed a complaint at the Vasant Kunj North Police Station to take appropriate action against those indulging in intimidation and threat to students. Students also met the SHO personally and requested him to take the issue seriously and file an FIR. A Complaint has also been sent to Commissioner of Police by JNUSU, with a copy of the complaint to LG and CM.
There has been no response from the police so far.

Rise in Rage – Message of Solidarity for HCU Students: Anirban Bhattacharya and Umar Khalid

Guest Post by Anirban Bhattacharya & Umar Khalid

“We dissent, therefore we are”
The times we are living in are audacious. As the brahmanical Hindutva fascist forces in collaboration with big corporates are attempting to browbeat (or even just beat) us into silence, what better time than today to be audacious, to show our audacity. And that is precisely what Rohith Vemula did, both in his life as well as in his death. He dared to dissent against the brahmanical and communal structures of discrimination and oppression. He posed a graver “national security threat” because he was not just speaking up against the oppression against the Dalits, but also tried to build solidarities with other oppressed communities – the Muslims and other minorities. 
Of course, this invited the wrath of the powers that be – of Manu-Smriti Irani, of Bandaru Dattatreya, of the puppet VC Appa Rao and the puppeteer – the RSS. This earned him the epithet of “anti-national” as he was murdered institutionally by the communal-casteist apparatus of the state. The motive of the state was to “teach him a lesson” and “teach a lesson” to all those voices who dared to be audacious. But in vain. Rohith’s murder sparked a fire that spread across the country – across universities – demanding justice for Rohith. The need was felt by the RSS/BJP to “teach a lesson” yet again. In JNU the attack came in the form of the facile “national/anti-national” debate. When this was thwarted, in HCU it came in the form of the re-installation of the puppet VC Appa Rao.

This, of course, was an insult to the cause of justice for Rohith. It was an affront to the very idea of social justice. And it was a direct challenge to all democratic voices in the country. This outrage, this indignation could not have been taken lying low. The students in HCU yet again showed their audacity as they rose in rage against the re-installation of a killer VC. And this was met with a brutal lathi-charge by the Telangana Police, a fascist witch-hunt of student activists and teachers, their arrest on bogus charges, suspension of mess-water-electricity-internet and other facilities. The university has been turned into a war-zone.

Today universities and educational institutions across the country are being turned into war-zones and prison houses. It’s a shame today that heads of institutions and VCs – whether in FTII or HCU – are being escorted into their own campuses under police protection. On the one hand the institutionalized discrimination against Dalits and other oppressed castes is either forcing students to drop-out or hang themselves thereby necessitating the incessant demand for a Rohith Act. While on the other hand, through a concerted effort the state is imposing the brahmanical Hindutva fascist agenda of the RSS in course-curriculum. On the one hand, the state is pursuing a policy of massive fund cuts, fee-hikes or privatization so as to make higher education unaffordable for a large section – particularly the oppressed caste/class. On the other hand, to achieve the same, the ruling classes have been preparing to quell all possible resistance to the above through depoliticizing campus-spaces and curbing any and every voices of dissent. Such are the diktats, the exigencies of the insatiable thirst of global capital for profit in its bid to overcome the inherent crisis. While such anti-student pro-privatization policies were set in motion by the erstwhile Congress governments with all earnest, under the present regime, further velocity and teeth has been added to the same. The tightening tentacles of fascism in the country with RSS at its helm has only meant further witch-hunt, increasing militarization, casteist targeting, and shrinking of democratic space for debate and dissent in campuses.  

But, much to the irritation of those in Nagpur, the more vicious has been the assault, the more spectacular has been the resistance. From being against the bogey of Love Jihad to being for Kiss of Love, from being against Ghar Wapsi to calling the bluff on Swacch Bharat, from being against Dadri killing to exposing the farce of Make in India, from Hokkolorob to Pinjatod, from FTII to IIT-Madras, from Allahabad to Calicut, from Occupy UGC to Justice for Rohith, from Stand with JNU to Stand with HCU – there is a students’ spring today that swells across the country. We the students, today, are the opposition. And it is this strength that was exhibited in the streets of Delhi when Justice for Rohith and Stand with JNU merged into a sea of resistance.

If we look back in history, at times when the ruling classes has intensified its assault upon the people across the world, it is the students who have taken up a vital share of responsibility to speak up, to dissent. And more often than not we have seen various such youth and student movements talking to each other, drawing from each other, inspiring each other and thereby strengthening each other. The Black Panther movement influenced the Dalit Panthers. The struggle in Vietnam triggered massive anti-war demonstrations across the universities in America. The students of France 68 inspired millions of students across Europe and the world. The Cultural Revolution led by students in Maoist China inspired millions including the students during the Naxalbari movement which in turn inspired thousands across the subcontinent. Similarly it is important today that the movements whether of the Dalits, the women, the minorities, the LGBTIQ community, the workers, the peasants – should all speak to each other and gain strength from each other. At a time of ascendant fascism, it is imperative that we build solidarities forged in struggles. Because, even today if we remain divided into red, blue and green and so on, even if today we remain divided in HCU and JNU – fascism will ensure that tomorrow none survives. Maintaining our ideological differences – our colours, sharpening our tools of criticism and self-criticism, we must shun the path of sectarianism and build genuine unity of the oppressed against the combined assault of the brahmanical Hindutva fascist forces and the forces of big capital. 

The attack today is relentless. So has to be the resistance. The bail orders for a few individuals in a campus can be a small battle won, but the war is far from over and there can be no respite today. We are confronting fascism today; it is a difficult fight, and no one ever said it would be easy. Let us fight for the release of the students and teachers put behind bars in Hyderabad and in the process let us intensify the struggle to oust Appa Rao, to seek justice for Rohith, to challenge the brahmanical fascist forces and their tightening noose.

Rise in Rage against the reinstallation of Appa Rao, the killer of Rohith Vemula as VC in HCU.

Condemn the brutal crackdown and arrests of students and teachers by Telangana Police.
Anirban Bhattacharya & Umar Khalid are both students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Delhi

Mera Piya Ghar Aaya: Umar Khalid and Anirban Return to JNU and the Students’ Struggle

I have come home a little while ago from Jawaharlal Nehru University after listening to Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya take back the night. As I drove home  through the quiet streets of Delhi after midnight it occurred to me that somebody should whisper into Narendra Modi’s ear that he should now start stocking up on sleeping pills. (Maybe Baba Ramdev’s enterprise makes some that he could prescribe to the Prime Minister, unadulterated). With young people like Umar and Anirban as his adversaries, the Prime Minister can only have sleepless nights ahead of him. It is perhaps fortunate for him that the team from Madame Tussaud’s came by and did their job yesterday. Because from now on, his real skin tone will only envy the lustre of his wax work. Umar and Anirban, and their friends, took away the little remaining shine that Modi had left at midnight.

Continue reading Mera Piya Ghar Aaya: Umar Khalid and Anirban Return to JNU and the Students’ Struggle

Save Democracy, Release Umar, Anirban and SAR Geelani, Enact Rohith Act – JNU Marches again in Delhi

For the fourth time since the early February, students, faculty and their friends marched in Delhi. Once again, there were thousands of people, walking from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar. This time, there was focused attention on the demand for the release of the detained JNU students – Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, the DU Professor S.A.R Geelani, solidarity with JNU Prof. Nivedita Menon and the poet-scientist Gauhar Raza against their media trials, and a direct attack on the creeping fascism of the Modi regime. Here are some moments from this march.

(Thanks to Aniket Prantdarshi, Kavita Krishnan, Samim Asgor Ali and Anish Ahluwalia, ‘We are JNU’ for their photos and videos, which I have taken from their Facebook pages and Youtube Channels)

Continue reading Save Democracy, Release Umar, Anirban and SAR Geelani, Enact Rohith Act – JNU Marches again in Delhi

Encounters With the State and Other Comedies: Asmit Pathare

This is a guest post by ASMIT PATHARE

In response to JNUSU’s call for observing 2nd March as International Day of Protest and to demand justice for Rohith Vemula and the release of the then three arrested students, numerous organisations decided to gather outside Dadar station (E) and carry out a peaceful protest. Among them were All India Students’ Association (AISA), All India Students’ Federation (AISF), Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), All India Youth Federation (AIYF), University Committee for Democracy and Equality (UCDE) and others. The protest was supposed to begin at 5pm. Continue reading Encounters With the State and Other Comedies: Asmit Pathare

St Louis Universities Stand With JNU: A Statement

 

Kanhaiya Kumar, the president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) in New Delhi, India, was arrested on Feb 10 on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy. Kanhaiya was present at a meeting on the evening of Feb 9, where incendiary slogans were allegedly raised. Seven other students were also charged. Mr. Kumar is not accused of raising the slogans; indeed the identity of the person(s) who raised the slogans remains a mystery. Charging a student leader for sedition for another’s mere sloganeering is prima facie absurd. Further, the assault of Mr. Kumar, other students and faculty, and even journalists, in court premises by lawyers and others sympathetic to the government, do not inspire confidence in a fair judicial process. Continue reading St Louis Universities Stand With JNU: A Statement

‘Feeling Seditious’: March on Parliament to #StandwithJNU

For the third time within a span of two weeks since the middle of February, thousands of people came out on the streets of Delhi to express their solidarity with the detained students of JNU (Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban) and to voice their anger with the venal Modi regime.

Protest demonstrations (at least in northern India) tend to have something of the monotonous in them, the same cadence, the same rhythm and the same wailing, complaining tone. They tend to have an air of events staged by the defeated, for the defeated. But if we take the last three big protests in the city, and the many gatherings in JNU in the last two weeks or so,  as any indicator of what the pulse of our time is, we will have to agree that there has been a qualitative transformation in the language, vocabulary and  affect of protests. This afternoon, like the afternoon of the 18th (the first big JNU solidarity march), and of the 23rd of February (the Justice for Rohith Vemula March), was as much about the joy of togetherness and friendship as it was about rage and anger.

Continue reading ‘Feeling Seditious’: March on Parliament to #StandwithJNU

JNUSU Statement of Thanks for Global Support and Call for International Day of Protest and Action in Solidarity with Students in India on 2nd March 2016 : Shehla & Rama Naga (JNUSU)

Guest Post by Shehla (Vice-President, JNUSU) and Rama Naga (General Secretary, JNUSU)

To all Friends (in Delhi, India and the World) who have Supported the Struggle of JNU students and students elsewhere in India  in the past few weeks.

Thank you for your message of solidarity. In this hour of unprecedented attack on us, what has been a source of great strength are messages like these, which we have pasted all over the Administration Building. We have not been able to respond to each message because of being extremely overburdened. However, we are writing back today, in order to update you regarding the status of the struggle, and with a call to action on the 2nd of March, 2016 in your city.

Call for Global Day of Protest and March to Parliament for JNU - March 2nd, 2016
Call for Global Day of Protest and March to Parliament for JNU – March 2nd, 2016

Continue reading JNUSU Statement of Thanks for Global Support and Call for International Day of Protest and Action in Solidarity with Students in India on 2nd March 2016 : Shehla & Rama Naga (JNUSU)

Statement of Solidarity with JNU: University of Exeter (UK)

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India in their ongoing struggle against the anti-democratic incursions of the Indian state. We appeal to the elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi to uphold the Indian constitution, cease the repression of democratic protest across university campuses in India, and withdraw the spurious charges of ‘sedition’ against JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar. Continue reading Statement of Solidarity with JNU: University of Exeter (UK)

Statement of Solidarity with the JNU Community, from the Students and Faculty at Princeton University

 

We, the undersigned, condemn the undemocratic and unconstitutional actions of the BJP-ABVP-Delhi Police on the JNU campus. Continue reading Statement of Solidarity with the JNU Community, from the Students and Faculty at Princeton University

Statement in Support of Students and Faculty at JNU From Faculty and Affiliates of the American Uniersity of Beirut, Lebanon

February 23, 2016

We, the undersigned faculty, students, staff, and affiliates of the American University of Beirut are highly concerned over the recent repression of free speech and undue police and legal interventions at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. Continue reading Statement in Support of Students and Faculty at JNU From Faculty and Affiliates of the American Uniersity of Beirut, Lebanon

Statement on Behalf of Facultyand Students of O.P Jindal Global University in Solidarity With JNU

 

We, the undersigned Faculty and Students from the O.P Jindal Global University (JGU) in our individual capacity, condemn the police crackdown in Jawaharlal Nehru University- Delhi(JNU) and the apathy towards JNU demonstrated by State actors through their coercive actions. Continue reading Statement on Behalf of Facultyand Students of O.P Jindal Global University in Solidarity With JNU

Solidarity Statement from The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague

We, the undersigned students, staff and faculty members at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague, support the right of students and teachers everywhere to a learning environment that is critical, engaging and respectful. In light of recent events and the slander campaign against the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), we are disheartened and embarrassed that this is not the vision of the current Government of India, that they would rather create spaces of fear and control, by labelling all those that criticise their policies as anti-national and unpatriotic. Continue reading Solidarity Statement from The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague

Bangalore Research Network’s Letter of Solidarity with JNU

 

We, the undersigned members of the Bangalore Research Network and a consortium of academics and researchers from Bangalore, declare our solidarity with the students and faculty of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi protesting the illegal police arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition. We unequivocally stand by them in affirming that universities are autonomous spaces for the free expression of a plurality of beliefs and cannot become military spaces of thought control that go against the very grain of a democratic society.  With them, we condemn the blatantly authoritarian attempt by the police and the central government to witch hunt students on the basis of their political beliefs. We also condemn the unethical media trial of JNU students such as Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid. Continue reading Bangalore Research Network’s Letter of Solidarity with JNU

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