Group of concerned citizens terms it "unholy alliance"

A group of concerned citizens have come down heavily on the memorandum of understanding that was resigned signed by India for a joint research programme with Israel.

In a joint appeal to academics, students and civil society to join in condemning the ‘unholy’ alliance being forged by University Grant Commission with Israel Science Foundation through the MoU, the group said pursue of excellence in any field of work could have meaning only if it was imbued with conscience.

“None of the foundational principles on which academic and cultural contacts are based can be fulfilled when Palestinian students and teachers are not allowed to reach their universities because of Israeli mandated permit laws and check points: and supplies such as food, textbooks, and medicines are prohibited from entering Palestinian territories’’, it said.

Referring to a statement made by Israel Ambassdaor after the signing ceremony that linking of researchers came naturally, the group coming under the platform of the `International Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel’, asked how it could be natural for India to lend a stamp of approval to Israeli policy, which it noted was that of colonialism, apartheid and occupation.

They also questioned the Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, for initiating the programme and asked how academics in India could collaborate with those funded by a State, which they said was responsible for the illegitimate occupation of another people.

“Is it natural for Indians to admit Israel into the global academic and cultural arena when it does not respect international law and recognise the Palestinian people’s right to freedom, equality and justice?’’, they asked.

The signatories included academics, Achin Vinaik, C.P. Chandrasekhar, Jayati Ghosh, Mushirul Hassan, Nandini Sundar, Upendra Baxi, Zoya Hassan, Mohan Rao and Aditya Nigam, Ayesha Kidwai, film makers Anand Patwardhan, Saed Mirza, Saba Dewan, and Gargi Sen, writers, Arundhati Roy, K. Satchidandan, Githa Hariharan, and Praful Bidwai, activists Harsh Mander, Prabir Purkayastha, and lawyer, Prashant Bushan.

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