Solidarity Statement from Scholars in Canada

We, the signatories to this statement, are in absolute and resounding support of the students, faculty, staff, and allies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. We strongly condemn the witch-hunt by the Indian government targeting students on campus and the onslaught on the elected Student’s Union. The Union’s President, Kanhaiya Kumar, among five others, have been charged with sedition due to an event that took place in the campus on February 9, 2016. We believe the sedition charges inappropriate since there was no incitement to violence. We condemn the violent attack on the students, teachers, and media-persons in the court where Kanhaiya was presented. We believe this attempt to interfere with due process of law represents an attack on not only on civil liberties, but also on fundamental rights.

It is deeply disturbing to note public debate around this on the mainstream Indian media, especially the television news channels and social media that is replete with threats of violence against those who are now branded ‘anti-national’. The contention is that universities should not be spaces of political engagement, but of quiet ‘apolitical’ scholarly repose. As students and researchers committed to the principles of transnational social justice, it is distressing to note the attempts to tarnish the university and those associated with it as ‘anti-national.’

As scholars who have studied in, debated with, learnt from, and found solidarity in Jawaharlal Nehru University, since its establishment in 1969, we are disappointed to note the Delhi Police’s apparent inability to track down the people who attacked Kanhaiya Kumar in court premises, while it launches a country-wide hunt for another student leader, Umar Khalid, who was falsely branded as an associate of a terrorist organization and subjected to a speedy media trial. It is with rising alarm that we register that the University’s library website has been hacked and the institution has been subjected to surveillance by the police. Increasingly, we see how sites of higher education like the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and the University of Hyderabad (UoH) are becoming sites of state persecution.

As scholars living and working in Canada, we recognize the importance of academic and political freedom. The threat posed to academic freedom by governments motivated by political expedience and the intoxication of power knows no borders, and a threat to academic freedom anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere. We stand with our colleagues in India and call upon the Indian government to stop its anti-democratic action against the students of JNU.

To our fellow students, faculty and staff at JNU: we extend our support and solidarity and stand with you in this struggle.

(An earlier version of this statement has been signed by the department of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. This statement has been modified to include scholars who seek to show solidarity with the very idea of India as represented by the Jawaharlal Nehru University today.)

We #StandwithJNU

Signed,

  1. Shruti Buddhavarapu, University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Aprajita Sarcar, Queen’s University, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Territory
  1. Sanober Umar, Queen’s University, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Territory
  1. Tanvi Sirari, University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Harshita Yalamarty, Yorke University, Toronto
  1. Parnisha Sarkar, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Reeju Ray, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario
  1. Patrick Corbeil, Queen’s University, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Territory
  1. Ishita Pande, Queen’s University, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Territory
  1. Meghana Rao, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Rachel Berger, Concordia University, Tiotià:ke, unceded Mohawk/Kahnawake territory
  1. Kamal Arora, University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Sanjeev Routray, University Of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Richa Sharma, University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Prajna Rao, University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Bhavani Raman, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Akshaya Tankha, Doctoral Candidate, University of Toronto
  1. Renisa Mawani, University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. D. Alissa Trotz, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Natalie Rothman, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Dina Al-Kassim, University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Tanveer Pratap, University of Victoria, Victoria
  1. Sunera Thobani, University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Prasad Khanolkar, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Vertika, McGill University, Montreal
  1. Sabina Chatterjee, York University, Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory
  1. Magnolia Pauker, University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Michelle Murphy, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Nishant Upadhyay, York University, Mississaugas of New Credit Territories (Toronto)
  1. Sean Grisdale, University of Toronto, Toronto, CA
  1. Dr Tsering Shakya, University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Tashi Tsering, Mount Royal University, Calgary
  1. Dharashree Das, Simon Fraser University
  1. Malavika Kasturi, University of Toronto
  1. Shwetha Govindan, McGill University, Montreal
  1. Senjuti Kundu, McGill University, Montreal
  1. Anwesha Ghosh, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Sonam Yangzom, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Rajyashree N Reddy, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Prof Katharine N Rankin, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Sanchia deSouza, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Tushna Mehta, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Rajeev Das, Canadian Nuclear Labs, McGill University, Montreal
  1. Mohit Malhotra, York University
  1. Espen Stranger-Johannessen, University of British Columbia
  1. Sanjay Tewari, JNU SES 1990 Class
  1. Elliot Hanowski, University of Winnipeg
  1. Sara Shneiderman, University of British Columbia
  1. Rajarshi Sengupta, University of British Columbia
  1. Heena Mistry, Queen’s University
  1. Jesse Henderson, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Dia Da Costa, University of Alberta
  1. Kajri Jain, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Shubhra Gururani, York University
  1. Kristi Carey, University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Ilan Kapoor, York University, Toronto
  1. Guillaume Dandurand, York University
  1. Pooja Parmar, University of Victoria, Coast and Straits Salish peoples’ traditional territories
  1. Radhika Mongia, York University, Toronto
  1. Ajay Bhardwaj, University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Upasana Thakkar. University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territory
  1. Chandrima Chakraborty, McMaster University, Hamilton
  1. Stefan Kipfer, Associate Professor, York University
  1. Darren J. Patrick, PhD Candidate, York University
  1. Dr. Sundar Viswanathan, York University, Toronto
  1. Dr Tania Das Gupta, York University, Toronto
  1. Prof. Luin Goldring, York University, Toronto
  1. Gaurav Singh, McGill University, Montreal
  1. Anita Sivabalan, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Ajay Rao, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Anil Varughese, Carleton University
  1. Francis Cody, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Prashanta Dhar, University of Toronto, Toronto
  1. Supriya Routh, University of Victoria
  1. Nalini Persram, York University, Toronto
  1. E.C. Woodley, University of Toronto, Toronto, CA
  1. Deborah Cowen, University of Toronto

78. Soma Chatterjee, York University, Toronto

  1. Srilata Raman, University of Toronto
  1. Chaahat Singh, University of British Colimbia
  1. Helina Gebremedhen, University of Toronto

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