From Oxford To Yale, Support For JNU Pours In From Over 400 Alumni And Academics

Posted on February 16, 2016 in Campus Watch

Editorial Note: With students protesting for the release of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar who was arrested on the charges of sedition, it is being increasingly questioned whether the right to dissent exists anymore in the country. Support for JNU continues to pour in from not just all over the country, but from various parts of the world. To express their solidarity, JNU’s international alumni, and a wider global academic community has come out with a statement stating their displeasure with the current turn of events. 

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

If you would like to express solidarity with JNU, then do add your name in the comments below. 

Signatories

Featured image by V. Arun Kumar

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