Statement in solidarity with Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA) and student community

We the faculty members of the South Asian University are deeply disturbed by the developments at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi in the last few days. President of the JNU Students Union was arrested with the charges of sedition and some more students are being looked out for by the police. As reported it was the fall out of an incident involving a programme organized by some students in which some slogans were made which were alleged to be “anti-national”.

We the undersigned are of the view that universities are meant to be places for critical thinking and ideas which may sometimes contradict with the views of the powers that be or may go against the dominant and established views. We understand that freedom of speech and expression comes with certain reasonable restrictions. However, as long as it remains at the level of expression and exchange of ideas and views without preventing the possibility of expression of counter ideas and views it should be seen as healthy form of dissent in a democracy. It is equally so in a democratic country like India. We feel the highhanded involvement of the government and its police machinery in JNU as interference in the academic autonomy of a University which, in our view, would not augur well for any democratic country.

We also strongly condemn the attack on JNU teachers, students and journalists in the Patiala House court premises. We therefore stand in solidarity with the JNUTA which along with the JNU student community has taken the right step of defending the academic autonomy of the University.

Deepa Sinha, President, SAUFA

Yuba Raj Pokharel, Secretary, SAUFA

15 February 2016


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