Faculty at DePaul University, Chicago, U.S.

February 29, 2016.

We, the undersigned, at DePaul University, Chicago, stand in solidarity with the students, faculty, and staff at JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) in their ongoing struggle to challenge the flagrant violations of their democratic rights by the Indian state.

We condemn the use of a colonial era sedition law (designed to silence anticolonial protests) to prevent the expression of free speech and academic debate on a university campus.

We condemn the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya on spurious charges of “anti-nationalism”. We protest the use of vigilante justice and violent attacks by lawyers. Courts of law should not become mouthpieces of the state. Students, faculty, journalists, and other dissenting voices should not be subject to violence and “trial by media”.

University campuses should be spaces where students have the freedom to grapple with ideas, engage in difficult conversations, and challenge the status quo. As academics, we are disturbed at the smothering of dissent, the framing of critical perspectives as seditious, and the use of violence to impose the casteist and communal views of the current administration.

This attack on JNU is not an isolated incident. Other academic institutions like Hyderabad Central University (HCU) and Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) have been attacked in similar ways. It is part of a wider pattern of intimidation, silencing of dissent, and intolerance towards demands for a more plural and just society.

We demand the immediate release of Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya. We demand the rollback of the archaic colonial sedition laws used to arrest them. We also demand the prosecution of the vigilante lawyers who violently and brazenly attacked students, faculty and journalists at the court at Patiala House, as the police stood by.

In Solidarity,

  1. Shailja Sharma (Associate Dean and Associate Professor)
  2. Kalyani Devaki Menon (Associate Professor)
  3. Sanjukta Mukherjee (Assistant Professor)
  4. Rajit Mazumdar (Associate Professor)
  5. Frida Kerner Furman (Professor)
  6. David J. Wellman (Associate Professor)
  7. John Shanahan (Associate Dean and Associate Professor)
  8. Alec Brownlow (Associate Professor)
  9. Khaled Keshk (Associate Professor and Chair)
  10. Charles R. Strain (Professor)
  11. Carolina Sternberg (Assistant Professor)
  12. Winifred Curran (Associate Professor)
  13. Alex G. Papadopoulos (Associate Professor)
  14. Ann Russo (Associate Professor)
  15. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Associate Professor)
  16. Peg Birmingham (Professor)
  17. Amor Kohli (Associate Professor and Chair)
  18. Chris Mount (Associate Professor)
  19. Aminah Al-Deen (Professor)
  20. Nila Ginger Hofman (Associate Professor)
  21. Morag M. Kersel (Assistant Professor)
  22. Larry Mayo (Associate Professor)
  23. John Mazzeo (Associate Professor)
  24. Robert Rotenberg (Professor and Chair)
  25. Laila Farah (Associate Professor)
  26. Heidi J. Nast (Professor)
  27. Maureen Sioh (Associate Professor)
  28. Maria del Rosario Acosta Lopez (Associate Professor)
  29. Kaveh Ehsani (Assistant Professor)
  30. Felix Masud-Piloto (Professor)
  31. Randall Honold (Assistant Dean)
  32. Scott Hibbard (Associate Professor)
  33. Jane Eva Baxter (Associate Professor)
  34. Angelika Cedzich (Associate Professor)
  35. Scott Paeth (Associate Professor)
  36. Chernoh Sesay, Jr. (Associate Professor)
  37. Beth S. Catlett (Associate Professor and Chair)
  38. Julie E. Moody-Freeman (Associate Professor)
  39. Juan Mora-Torres (Associate Professor)
  40. Tom Krainz (Associate Professor)
  41. Sandra Jackson (Professor)

 

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