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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 9 New Delhi February 20, 2016

Statements of Concern in Response to Police Crackdown at JNU on February 12, 2016

Monday 22 February 2016

• Actions in JNU an attempt at diverting the students anger over Rohith Vemula’s suicide and continued discrimination

• Withdraw Police from JNU Campus, let there be an impartial enquiry in the incidents of February 9th by University

• Release Kanhaiya Kumar immediately and withdraw all charges

Delhi Police and its high-handedness has once again come to the scrutiny and makes us question if it is acting as a political tool rather than being the enforcer of the law and order situation in the State. The swift move to arrest Kanhaiya Kumar, the President of the JNUSU, on charges of sedition is highly condemnable. A witch-hunt is going on at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus and everyone is seen as a suspect at this moment. This must stop immediately.

The facts of the incidents on February 9 are not yet clear but trumped charges, media hyperbole and complete polarisation of views have created a situation where one of the top-most universities of the country is being targeted and maligned. The political dissent of the students with the ruling establishment as evident on several occasions now, #OccupyUGC, #Rohith Vemula’s Suicide and others, is being used to criminalise them and term the whole campus as a den of Pakistani sympathisers, terrorists and Naxalites. This is completely malicious and fictitious and will only vitiate the atmosphere.

We need to remember that there is simmering tension and anger in university campuses across the country, thousands are marching everyday in different campuses bringing to the fore the wrongs within the higher education system and the discriminations which prevail there. However, rather than addressing any of these issues, be it the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the FTII Chairperson, curtailing of non-NET fellowships, suicides of Dalit and other students, increased interventions from the communal forces in teaching, syllabus or administration etc. the NDA Government and HRD Minister have only unleashed state terror on them.

The current actions by the government at the JNU can’t be seen in isolation and needs to be viewed as a part of the larger conspiracy to divert attention and seek political dividends in forthcoming elections and criminalise any political dissent or questioning of the govern-ment in the country today.

In the specific incidents of the shouting of anti-national slogans, let there be an independent and impartial enquiry conducted but it doesn’t behove of a democracy that we unleash police on the campus and start a witch-hunt in the heart of the capital and criminalise the whole University.

It’s time the government took measures to instil confidence in the rule of law and not engage in political vendetta for narrow political gains. The NAPM demands immediate release of the JNUSU President, Kanhaiya Kumar, and let an impartial enquiry be conducted by the University and bring the facts to light and the public domain. Delhi Police must vacate the campus immediately and stop the witch-hunt and withdraw the FIR against unnamed persons. We also urge some of the news channels engaged in complete hyperbole to behave responsibly and not engage in spreading misinformation and further vitiate the atmosphere.

Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantarai, Lok Shakti Abhiyan and Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad - Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha; Dr Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and Meera,Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP; Suniti S.R., Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe, NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C.R. Neelkandan,NAPM Kerala; P. Chennaiah and Ramakrishnam Raju, NAPM Andhra Pradesh; Arundhati Dhuru, Richa Singh, Nandlal Master,NAPM, UP; Sister Celia; Domestic Workers Union and Rukmini V.P., Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Vimal Bhai, Matu Jan Sangathan and Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant, Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM, Gujarat; Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan and Mahendra Yadav, Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM, Bihar; Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, J.S. Walia, NAPM, Haryana; Kailash Meena, NAPM, Rajasthan; Amitava Mitra and Sujato Bhadra, NAPM, West Bengal; Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan Sangharsh Vahini and Rajendra Ravi,Madhuresh Kumar and Shabnam Shaikh, NAPM, Delhi (February 13, 2016)

Solidarity Statement by International Scholars and Former JNU Students

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of the 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-militarised space for freedom of thought and expression. Accordingly, we condemn police presence on the 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, 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 autho-ritarian 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 the 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 the 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 the Jawaharlal Nehru University to protect members of the university community and safeguard their rights.

1. Asma Abbas, Bard College at Simon’s Rock

2. Syed Shahid Abbas, Institute of Develop-ment Studies, Brighton, UK

3. Gilbert Achcar, SOAS, University of London

4. Katie Addleman, University of Toronto

5. Barun Adhikary, JNU

6. Aniket Aga, Yale University

7. Ashish Aggarwal (JNU 2012)

8. Aftab Ahmad (JNU 2000), Columbia University

9. Aijaz Ahmad, University of California, Irvine

10. Meena Alexander, City University of New York

11. Nosheen Ali, Habib University

12. Tariq Omar Ali, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

13. Liyanage Amarakeerthi, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

14. Harini Amarasuriya, Open University of Sri Lanka

15. Eyal Amiran, UC Irvine, California, USA

16. Dibyesh Anand, University of Westminster

17. Sundari Anitha (JNU 1996), University of Lincoln Brayford Pool

18. Ponni Arasu (JNU 2005), University of Toronto

19. Jayadev Athreya, University of Washington

20. Anjali Arondekar, University of California, Santa Cruz

21. Saurabh Arora, University of Sussex

22. Edward Anderson (JNU 2009), Cambridge University

23. Abdul Kalam Azad, TISS-UNICEF

24. Edward Bacal, University of Toronto

25. Nandita Badami (JNU 2011), University of California Irvine

26. Shiladitya Banerjee University of Chicago

27. Amit R. Baishya (JNU 2003), University of Oklahoma

28. Anirban Baishya (JNU 2013), University of Southern California

29. Aparna Balachandran (JNU 2000), Univer-sity of Delhi

30. Sai Balakrishnan, Harvard University

31. Ian Balfour, York University

32. Jairus Banaji (JNU 1975), SOAS, London

33. Murad Banaji, University of Middlesex

34. Sandeep Banerjee, McGill University

35. Sreenanti Banerjee, Birkbeck, University of London

36. Anustup Basu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

37. Arani Basu (JNU 2015), Humboldt University

38. Ananyo “Tito” Basu, American Cooperative School of Tunis

39. Priyanka Basu (JNU 2011), SOAS, London

40. Srimati Basu, University of Kentucky

41. Subho Basu (JNU 1988), McGill University

42. Lalit Batra, University of Minnesota

43. Daniel Bender, University of Toronto

44. Ankur Betageri, IIT-Delhi

45. Madhav Badami, McGill University

46. Sukanya Banerjee, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

47. Homi Bhabha, Harvard University

48. Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Warwick/Linnaeus University

49. Brenna Bhandar, SOAS, University of London

50. V. Bhaskar (JNU 1981, JNUSU President 1981), University of Texas at Austin

51. Udit Bhatia, Oxford University

52. Varuni Bhatia (JNU), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

53. Enakshi Bhattacharya, IIT-Madras

54. Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of East London

55. Nandini Bhattacharya (JNU 2005), University of Dundee

56. Ritwik Bhattacharyya, Princeton Univer-sity

57. Shreya Bhattacherjee, (JNU 2010), University of California, Riverside

58. Soumyadip Bandyopadhyaya, IIT-Kharag-pur

59. Akeel Bilgrami, Columbia University

60. Debanjali Biswas (JNU 2011), King’s College London

61. Nabaneeta Biswas, University of Georgia

62. Somak Biswas (JNU 2015), University of Warwick

63. Amiel Bize, Columbia University

64. Manuela Boatcã, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

65. Anannya Bohidar (JNU 2014), University of Pennsylvania

66. Jenisha Borah (JNU 2013)

67. David Boyk, University of California, Berkeley

68. Andrea Brock, University of Sussex

69. Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley

70. Kriti Budhiraja (JNU 2014), University of Minnesota Twin Cities

71. Allison Busch, Columbia University

72. Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley

73. Erica Burman, University of Manchester

74. Utathya C. (JNU 2011), University of Illinois

75. Linda Carty, Syracuse University

76. Radhika Chadha (JNU 2005), Delhi University

77. Pavel Chakraborty (JNU 2003), Oxford University

78. Pratik Chakrabarti (JNU 2000), University of Manchester

79. Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago

80. Priyanka Chakraborty, Southern Methodist University

81. Paula Chakravartty, NYU

82. Aditi Chandra, University of California

83. Ananya Chatterjea, University of Minnesota

84. Anindita Chatterjee, University of Minnesota

85. Anomitro Chatterjee (JNU 2010), Georgia State Universit

86. Chandrayee Chatterjee (JNU 2012), Georgia State University.

87. Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University

88. Piya Chatterjee, Scripps College

89. Sreya Chatterjee (JNU 2004)

90. Sumita Dutt Chatterjee (JNU 1989), University of Miami

91. Sameer Chaturvedi, Jawaharlal Nehru University

92. Antara Ray Chaudhury, Jawaharlal Nehru University

93. Divya Cherian (JNU 2008), Rutgers University

94. Vanessa Chishti (JNU 2015)

95. Meghna Chaudhuri (JNU 2012), New York University

96. Francis Cody, University of Toronto

97. Dia Da Costa, University of Alberta

98. Bedatri Datta Choudhury (JNU 2012), New York University

99. Mrinalini Chakravorty, University of Virginia.

100. Lawrence Cohen, University of California, Berkeley

101. Aditi Surie von Czechowski, Columbia University

102. Katyayani Dalmia (JNU 2008), New School

103. Deepra Dandekar, University of Heidelberg, Germany

104. Chandler Davis, University of Toronto

105. Dharashree Das (JNU 2005), Simon Fraser University

106. Manishita Dass, Royal Holloway, University of London

107. Sangeeta Das (JNU 2007), Jawaharlal Nehru University

108. Satadru Das (JNU 2008), Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

109. Ananya Dasgupta (JNU 2003), Case Western Reserve University

110. Rohit K. Dasgupta, University of Southampton

111. Sandipto Dasgupta, King’s College, London

112. Sejuti Dasgupta (JNU 2010), Michigan State University

113. Natalie Zemon Davis, University of Toronto

114. Anuradha De (JNU 1992), CORD

115. Rohit De, Yale University

116. Siddhartha Deb, Writer, The New School

117. Sanchia deSouza, University of Toronto

118. Federico Demaria, ICTA UAB, Barcelona, Spain

119. Karishma Desai, Teachers College, Columbia University

120. Jigna Desai, University of Minnesota

121. Meenu Deswal (JNU 2014), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

122. Garima Dhabai (JNU 2015), Yale University

123. Meena Dhanda, University of Wolverhampton

124. Neha Dhole (JNU 2010), University of Pittsburgh

125. Rohan D’Souza (JNU 1998), Kyoto University

126. Debjani Dutta (JNU 2012), University of Southern California

127. Devika Dutt (2014), University of Massachusetts, Amherst

128. Timothy S. Dobe, Grinnell College

129. J Daniel Elam, University of Wisconsin-Madison

130. Kanishka Elupula (JNU 2008), Harvard University

131. Sara Feldman, University of Illinois

132. Peter Fitting, University of Toronto

133. Bashabi Fraser, Edinburgh Napier University

134. Kathleen Frederickson, University of California, Davis

135. Elaine Freedgood, New York University

136. Lina M. Fruzzetti, Brown University

137. Richard Fung, OCAD University

138. Debjani Ganguly, University of Virginia

139. Keya Ganguly, University of Minnesota

140. Tejaswini Ganti, NYU

141. Faisal Garba, University of Cape Town

142. Gaurav C. Garg (JNU 2013), New York University

143. David Gellner, Oxford University

144. Robert M. Geraci, Manhattan College

145. Roos Gerritsen, Heidelberg University and IIT Madras

146. Maitreesh Ghatak, London School of Economics

147. Bishnupriya Ghosh, University of California, Santa Barbara

148. Arunabh Ghosh, Harvard University

149. Vinay Gidwani, University of Minnesota

150. Natasha Ginwala (JNU 2010), curator

151. Tula Goenka, Syracuse University

152. Dishanka Gogoi, Jawaharlal Nehru University

153. Hugo Gorringe, University of Edinburgh

154. Manu Goswami, New York University

155. Anup Grewal, University of Toronto

156. Ann Grodzins Gold, Syracuse University

157. Priyamvada Gopal (JNU 1991), University of Cambridge

158. Mahesh Gopalan (JNU 2012), St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi

159. Ratna Goradia (JNU 2008), New York Post

160. Yogita Goyal, University of California Los Angeles

161. Radhika Govindrajan (JNU 2006), University of Washington

162. Isabelle Guérin, Centre d’études en Sciences Sociales Sur Les Mondes Américains Africains et Asiatiques

163. Akhil Gupta, University of California, Los Angeles

164. Anoushka Gupta (JNU 2008), York University

165. Bishnupriya Gupta (JNU 1983), University of Warwick

166. Bipasha Guptaroy (JNU 1984), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

167. Shubhra Gururani, York University, Canada

168. Jaswant Guzder, McGill University

169. Alexis Halkovic (JNU 1996), The Graduate Center, City University of New York

170. Thomas Blom Hansen, Stanford University

171. Anusha Hariharan (JNU 2011), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

172. Martin Harries, University of California, Irvine

173. Barbara Harriss-White, Oxford University

174. Anneeth Kaur Hundle, University of California, Merced

175. Phil Hutchinson, Manchester Metropolitan University

176. Aashique Ahmed Iqbal (JNU 2011), University of Oxford

177. Feyzi Ismail, SOAS, University of London

178. Bharati Jagannathan (JNU Ph.D 2010), Miranda House

179. Sarandha Jain (JNU 2015)

180. Bhawana Jaiswal (JNU 2015)

181. Sudeep Kumar Jaiswal (JNU 2015), East China Normal University (ECNU)

182. Chinnaiah Jangam (JNU 1998), Carleton College

183. Pranav Jani, Ohio State University

184. Nicolas Jaoul, EHESS/CNRS, France

185. Arjun Jayadev, University of Massachu-setts, Boston

186. Rajshri Jayaraman, ESMT Berlin

187. Ketaki Jaywant (JNU, 2008), University of Minnesota

188. Patricia Jeffery, University of the Edinburgh

189. Anderson Jeremiah, Lancaster University

190. Shikha Jhingan, Jawaharlal Nehru University

191. Bhoomika Joshi (JNU 2009), Yale University

192. Meghana Joshi, Rutgers University

193. Abhishek Kaicker, University of California, Berkeley

194. Vidya Kalaramadam, William Paterson University of New Jersey

195. Virinder S. Kalra, University of Manchester

196. Sangeeta Kamat, University of Massachu-setts at Amherst

197. Lipika Kamra (JNU 2010), University of Oxford

198. Aparna Kapadia (JNU 2005), Williams College

199. Caren Kaplan, University of California, Davis

200. Ilan Kapoor, York University

201. Anupama Kapse, Queens College, CUNY

202. Jyotsna Kapur, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

203. Radha Kapuria (JNU 2013), King’s College London

204. Sumayya Kassamalli, Columbia University

205. Malavika Kasturi (JNU 1988-1992), University of Toronto

206. Suvir Kaul, University of Pennsylvania

207. Ravinder Kaur (JNU 1996, JNUSU General Secretary 1994-1995), University of Copenhagen

208. Sudipta Kaviraj, Columbia University

209. Prashant Keshavmurthy (JNU 1998), McGill University

210. Prashant Kidambi (JNU 1994), University of Leicester

211. Wiebke Keim, CNRS/University of Strasbourg

212. Dipti Khera, New York University

213. Jocelyn Killmer, Syracuse University

214. Makiko Kimura (JNU 2004), Tsuda College, Tokyo

215. Pasha M. Khan, McGill University

216. Ashok Kotwal, University of British Columbia

217. Ashish Koul (JNU 2006), Vanderbilt University

218. Monomita Roy Krishna (JNU 1982), University of Hawaii

219. Sankaran Krishna (JNU 1982), University of Hawaii at Manoa

220. Jesse Ross Knutson, University of Hawai’i at Mânoa

221. Abdul Kuddus (JNU 2005), Learning Solutions Consultant

222. Sikandar Kumar, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

223. Leena Kumarappan, London Metropolitan University

224. C.J. Kuncheria (JNU 2015), Yale University

225. Rishabh Kumar (JNU 2008), The New School, New York

226. Sahil Kureshi (JNU 2013), Oxford University

227. Vinay Lal, University of California, Los Angeles

228. Mahmood Kooria (JNU 2012), Leiden University, The Netherlands

229. Premesh Lalu, University of the Western Cape

230. Joel Lee, Williams College

231. Jens Lerche, SOAS, University of London

232. Darryl Li, Yale Law School

233. David Palumbo-Liu, Stanford University

234. Madhura Lohokare (JNU 2003), Syracuse University

235. Munira Lokhandwala, University of California, Berkeley

236. Jinee Lokaneeta, Drew University

237. Ania Loomba, University of Pennsylvania

238. Ritty Lukose, New York University

239. Sumi Madhok (JNU 1997), London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

240. Aparna Mahariya (JNU 2015), University of Exeter

241. Kama Maclean, UNSW Australia

242. Rochona Majumdar, University of Chicago

243. Meghana Marathe, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

244. Sanjeev Routray (JNU 2003), University of British Columbia

245. Sudhir Mahadevan, University of Washington, Seattle

246. Bakirathi Mani (JNU 1997) Swarthmore College

247. Swati Mantri, IIT Delhi

248. Rohan Dominic Mathews (JNU 2015)

249. Surbhi Mahajan (JNU 2008), Development Researcher

250. Aakshi Magazine (JNU 2011), University of St Andrews, UK

251. Tapasi Mathur (JNU 2008), University of Michigan

252. Lyla Mehta, Institute of Development Studies, UK

253. Nora Melnikova, Charles University, Prague

254. Dilip Menon, University of Witwatersrand

255. Gayatri A. Menon, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru

256. Minakshi Menon (JNU 1985), Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

257. Nikhil Menon (JNU 2011), Princeton University

258. Thomas Metcalf, University of California, Berkeley

259. Alessandra Mezzadri, SOAS, London

260. Sumeet Mhaskar, University of Göttingen

261. Darshana Mini, University of Southern California

262. Geeta Mishra, IIT Delhi

263. Sangay Mishra, Drew University

264. Saurabh Mishra (JNU 2004), University of Sheffield

265. Shaivya Mishra (JNU 2013), University of California Berkeley

266. Mayank Misra, Princeton University

267. Timothy Mitchell, Columbia University

268. Kirtimaan Mohan (JNU 2009), Michigan State University, East Lansing

269. Taneesha Devi Mohan (JNU 2010), London School of Economics

270. Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University

271. Padmini Mongia (JNU Visiting Faculty 2008-2010), Franklin & Marshall College

272. Radhika Mongia, York University, Toronto

273. Nayanika Mookherjee (JNU 1996), Durham University, UK

274. Rosalind C. Morris, Columbia University

275. Debashree Mukherjee (JNU 2009), Columbia University

276. Ishan Mukherjee (JNU 2011), Trinity College, University of Cambridge

277. Sanjukta Mukherjee (JNU), DePaul University

278. Shagata Mukherjee, Georgia State University

279. Shruti Mukherjee (JNU 2013), SUNY Stony Brook

280. Sinjini Mukherjee (JNU 2008), Heidelberg University

281. Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee, Warwick University

282. Uponita Mukherjee (JNU 2014), Columbia University

283. Maroona Murmu, Jadavpur University

284. Hema A. Murthy, IIT Madras

285. Sharun W. Mukand, Warwick University

286. Dulali Nag, Indian Institute for Social Welfare and Business Management

287. Richa Nagar, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

288. Kartik Nair (JNU 2010), New York University

289. Rahul Nair (JNU 1998), Antioch College

290. Vijayanka Nair, New York University

291. Siddharth Narrain, Lawyer and Legal Researcher

292. Poonam Natarajan (JNU 1976), CSRD/SSS

293. Anjali Nath, American University of Beirut

294. Vasuki Nesiah, The Gallatin School, NYU

295. Eleanor Newbigin, SOAS, University of London

296. Anirban Nigam (JNU 2014), University of California Irvine

297. Madhurima Nundy, Institute of Chinese Studies

298. Daniel O’Connor, University of Edinburg

299. Francesca Orsini, SOAS, London

300. Goldie Osuri, University of Warwick

301. Poornima Paidipathy (JNU 2000), Cambridge University

302. Shailaja Paik, University of Cincinnati

303. Poulomi Pal (JNU 2010), Amherst College

304. Ravi Arvind Palat, SUNY Binghamton

305. Ankita Pandey (JNU 2008), University of Oxford

306. Ishita Pande (JNU 1999), Queen’s University

307. Ankita Pandey (JNU 2008), University of Oxford

308. Khaliq Parkar (JNU 2015), Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, Pune

309. Ian Parker, University of Leicester

310. Jonathan Parry, London School of Economics and Political Science

311. Prachi Patankar, South Asia Solidarity Initiative

312. Anuranjan Pegu (JNU 2005), New York

313. Mario da Penha, Rutgers University

314. Sonali Perera, Hunter College of the City University New York

315. Lakshmi Prasad, Jawaharlal Nehru University

316. Jessy Phillip (JNU 2015), TISS

317. Kavita Philip, University of California, Irvine

318. Chris Pinney, University College London

319. Sheldon Pollock, Columbia University

320. Gyan Prakash (JNU 1975), Princeton University

321. Ashok Prasad, Colorado State University

322. David Prochaska, University of Illinois

323. Navtej K. Purewal, SOAS University of London

324. Teja Varma Pusapati, University of Oxford

325. Asgar Qadri, George Washington University

326. Nayma Qayum, Manhattanville College

327. R. Radhakrishnan, University of California Irvine

328. Pallavi Raghavan, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

329. Raisur Rahman (JNU 2000) Wake Forest University

330. Amit S. Rai, Queen Mary, University of London

331. Shirin Rai, University of Warwick

332. Arvind Rajagopal, New York University

333. Dalpat Rajpurohit (JNU 2008), Columbia University

334. Suvrat Raju, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Bangalore

335. Harsha Ram, University of California, Berkeley

336. Bhavani Raman (JNU 1999), University of Toronto

337. Lucinda Ramberg, Cornell University

338. M.V. Ramana, Princeton University

339. Namita Ranganathan (JNU 1988), Delhi University

340. Bhargav Rani (JNU 2014), City University of New York

341. Barbara Ransby, University of Illinois at Chicago

342. Anupama Rao, Barnard College, Columbia University

343. Meghana Rao, University of Toronto

344. Rahul Rao, SOAS, University of London

345. Shruti Rao (JNU 2011), University of British Columbia

346. Harshit Rathi, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

347. Debraj Ray, NYU

348. Raka Ray, University of California, Berkeley

349. Reeju Ray (JNU 2007), University of Western Ontario

350. Sangeeta Ray, University of Maryland

351. Boike Rehbein, Humboldt University, Berlin

352. Allen F. Roberts, University of California, Los Angeles

353. E. Natalie Rothman, University of Toronto

354. Soumyadip Roy (JNU 2009), Iowa State University

355. Srila Roy, University of Witwatersrand

356. Srirupa Roy, University of Goettingen

357. Srabani Roychoudhury (JNU 1992), Jawaharlal Nehru University

358. Kanchana N. Ruwanpura, University of Edinburgh

359. Poulomi Saha, University of California, Berkeley

360. Sangita Saha (JNU 2011), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

361. Arun Saldanha, University of Minnesota

362. Aditi Saraf, Johns Hopkins University

363. Aprajita Sarcar (JNU 2013), Queen’s University, Ontario

364. Aditya Sarkar (JNU 2005), Warwick University

365. Parnisha Sarkar (JNU 2015), University of Toronto

366. Andrew Sartori, New York University

367. Akshya Saxena (JNU 2008), University of Minnesota

368. Dwaipayan Sen, Amherst College

369. Moumita Sen (JNU 2009), University of Oslo

370. Ruchira Sen (JNU 2012), University of Missouri-Kansas City

371. Aviroop Sengupta (JNU 2014), Columbia University

372. Uditi Sen (JNU 2004), Hampshire College

373. Sanjay Seth, Goldsmiths, University of London

374. Aradhana Anu Sharma, Wesleyan University

375. Partha Pratim Shil (JNU 2008) Trinity College, Cambridge

376. Arushi Singh (JNU 2014), University of California, Los Angeles

377. Bhrigupati Singh, Brown University

378. Prerna Singh, Brown University

379. Rashmi Singh (JNU 2011), University of Cambridge

380. Aarti Sethi (JNU 2009), Columbia University

381. Alpa Shah, London School of Economics and Political Science

382. Chayanika Shah, TISS Mumbai

383. Svati Shah, University of Massachusetts/JNU

384. Qaiser Shamim (JNU 1981)

385. Jayeeta Sharma, University of Toronto

386. Nitin Sharma, Purdue University

387. Shalini Sharma (JNU 1996), Keele University

388. Ajay Skaria, University of Minnesota

389. Samira Sheikh (JNU 1994), Vanderbilt University

390. Benjamin Seigel (Visiting Professor JNU 2007-8), Boston University

391. Marc Siegel, Goethe University, Frankfurt

392. Pritam Singh (JNU 1976, Student Councillor JNU-SSS 1973), Oxford Brookes University

393. Manjira Sinha, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

394. Subir Sinha, SOAS University of London

395. Suvadip Sinha, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

396. Tanvi Sirari (JNU 2012), University of British Columbia

397. Ari Sitas, University of Cape Town

398. Ruhi Sonal (JNU 2012), IIT Delhi

399. Jonathan Spencer, University of Edinburgh

400. Alex Steele, University of Minnesota

401. Rachel Sturman, Bowdoin College

402. Abha Sur, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

403. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University

404. Kannan Srinivasan, Wertheim Study New York Public Library

405. Ravindran Sriramachandran, Ashoka University

406. Priyanka Srivastava (JNU 1995-2000) University of Massachusetts, Amherst

407. Ulrike Stark, The University of Chicago

408. Tony K. Stewart, Vanderbilt University

409. Andy Stirling, University of Sussex

410. Ajantha Subramanian, Harvard University

411. Narendra Subramanian, McGill University

412. Sanjay Subrahmanyam, University of California, Los Angeles

413. Meghant Sudan, Concordia University, Montreal

414. Sanjukta Sunderason, Leiden University

415. Byapti Sur, Leiden University

416. Deborah Sutton (JNU 2001), Lancaster University

417. Ashwini Tambe, University of Maryland-College Park

418. Anand Vivek Taneja, Vanderbilt University

419. Akshaya Tankha (JNU 2006), University of Toronto

420. Shabnum Tejani, SOAS, University of London

421. Kamal Kumar Tanti, University of Technology and Management, Shillong

422. Kuhu Tanvir (JNU 2012), University of Pittsburgh

423. Rei Terada, University of California, Irvine

424. Shubha Tewari, University of Massachusetts

425. Sharika Thiranagama, Stanford University

426. Sudipa Topdar (JNU 2002), Illinois State University

427. Saadia Toor, College of Staten Island, City University of New York

428. Nishita Trisal, University of Michigan

429. Alexios Tsigkas, New School

430. Malvika Tyagi, IIT Delhi

431. Bhargav Rani (JNU 2014), City University of New York

432. Lalit Vachani, University of Göttingen.

433. Nilita Vachani, New York University

434. Aparna Vaidik (JNU 2005), Ashoka University

435. Anand Vaidya, University of Bergen

436. Anish Vanaik (JNU 2008), Purdue University

437. Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick

438. Ramaa Vasudevan (JNU 1986-88) Colorado State University

439. Rajesh Venogopal, London School of Economics

440. Kartik Verma (JNU 2008), University of Utah

441. Vertika (JNU 2014), McGill University, Montréal

442. Ramna Walia (JNU 2011), University of Texas at Austin

443. Gary Wang, University of Toronto

444. Tyler Walker Williams (JNU 2007), JNUSU Vice President 2006-2007, University of Chicago

445. Kalpana Wilson, London School of Economics and Political Science

446. Nicole Wolf, Goldsmiths, University of London

447. Niharika Yadav, Princeton University

448. Harshita Yalamarty (JNU 2013), York University

449. Suvaid Yaseen (JNU 2013), Brown University

450. Akhila Yechury (JNU 2007), University of St. Andrews

451. Dilan Yildirim, Harvard University

452. Nima Lamu Yolmo (JNU 2011)

453. Vazira Zamindar, Brown University

454. John Zavos (JNU 1988), University of Manchester

(February 15, 2016)

Statement of Solidarity with Student Protests in India from Students of the University of Chicago

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the arbitrary, unconstitutional, and anti-democratic actions of the BJP/RSS/ABVP/Delhi Police continuum at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus. We demand an immediate end to all police action on campus, a withdrawal of all frivolous charges against the President of the JNU Students’ Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, and other students, as well as an end to the campaign of harassment and intimidation against students at the university.

We believe that these actions by the Indian state and its associated groups and institutions are part of a larger campaign to stifle dissenting voices in the country, especially on university campuses which have persistently resisted the capitalist, Brahmanical hegemony of the current government. This was clearly evident in the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit Ph.D student at Hyderabad Central University (HCU) last month. The similarity of the modus operandi in Hyderabad and Delhi is striking: Rohith and his comrades had been accused of ‘anti-national’ activities for their condemnation of the hanging of Yakub Memon, and suspended from their academic positions on these undemocratic grounds. Similar charges have been framed against the students of the JNU for organising an event in solidarity with the struggle of Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination. To make matters murkier, it is now certain that at the event, which also marked the third anniversary of the execution of Afzal Guru, the ABVP was involved in raising the controversial slogans that are being cited to justify the sedition charge. We are of the firm opinion that protesting against state violence is a fundamental right that must not become vulnerable to arbitrary violation by governments, police and university administrations.

We believe that the colonial-era laws of sedition—already diluted and read down by the Supreme Court—are an embarrassment to India’s democratic principles. The criminalization of dissent in this case reveals how India’s current political leadership has been unable to respect diversity and guarantee the full legal rights of its people. Its political program imagines the citizen as upper caste, heterosexual, male, Hindu; its economic programme necessitates a blind faith in neoliberalism; and its social program continually imagines an enemy—the Muslim, the Dalit, the Left. It is not surprising that a government so debilitated and blinkered by its ideological narrowness has invoked the charge of sedition and sent police forces into the JNU campus, an action reminiscent of the worst years of Emergency.

We are also distressed by views expressed in certain sections of the Indian media regarding the legitimacy of political activism in public universities. This argument claims that since central and state governments subsidise education in public institutions, it is the responsibility of beneficiaries to refrain from critiquing state policies and to solely prioritise their studies. We firmly reject this cost-benefit understanding of education as shallow, apolitical, and deeply reactionary. As the saying goes, ‘education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’. The current administration and sections of the media would prefer students to remain uncritical of the violence of Brahmanism, communalism, and neoliberal capitalism. But the Rohiths of the world will keep lighting a fire and keep burning down bigotry. We believe that both public education and free speech are fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution, rights that have been earned through long struggle and rights that we will keep fighting for in India and elsewhere as we face systematic neoliberal onslaughts on dissent and education.

To our friends, colleagues and comrades in the JNU, HCU, FTII and elsewhere, we stand with you in your resistance against state sponsored violence, which curbs any form of dissent on the one hand, and on the other, condones hate speech by Hindu nationalists. We believe that scholarship and the concomitant development of our critical faculties should be used in dreaming of and implementing a better, pluralistic and just society.

• Sayantan Saha Roy, Ph.D student, Anthro-pology

• Ahona Panda, Ph.D student, South Asian Languages and Civilisations

• Harini Kumar, Ph.D student, Anthropology

• Tanima, Ph.D student, Anthropology

• Sneha Annavarapu, Ph.D student, Sociology

• Abhishek Bhattacharyya, Ph.D student, South Asian Languages and Civilisations and Anthropology

• Tejas Parasher, Ph.D student, Political Science

• Jenisha Borah, Ph.D student, Cinema and Media Studies.

• Suchismita Das, Ph.D student, Anthropology

• Vidura Jang Bahadur, MFA student, Visual Art

• Mannat Johal, Ph.D student, Anthropology

• Shefali Jha, Ph.D student, Anthropology

• Sanjukta Poddar, Ph.D student, South Asian Languages and Civilisations

• Aditi Das, Ph.D student, Social Service Administration

• Joya John, Ph.D student, South Asian Languages and Civilisations

• Marc Kelly, Ph.D student, Anthropology

• Eleonore Rimbault, Ph.D student, Anthro-pology

• Eric Powell, Ph.D student, English

• Patrick Lewis, Ph.D student, Anthropology

• Romit Chakraborty, Ph.D student, Chemistry

• Gautham Reddy, Ph.D student, South Asian Languages and Civilisations

• Amanda Shubert, Ph.D student, English

• Peter McDonald, Ph.D student, English

• Hannah Chazin, Ph.D student, Anthropology

• Jahnabi Barooah, Ph.D student, Divinity

• Margherita Trento, Ph.D student, South Asian Languages and Civilisations

• Peter Malonis, Ph.D student, Neuroscience

• Zoya Sameen, Ph.D student, History

• Sharvari Sastry, Ph.D student, South Asian Languages and Civilisations

• Andrew Messamore, MA student, Social Sciences Division

• Thomas Newbold, Ph.D student, South Asian Languages and Civilisations

• Eduardo L. Acosta, Ph.D student, South Asian Languages and Civilisations

• Uday Jain, Ph.D student, Committee on Social Thought