In a show of strength, teachers of 40 Central universities came out in support of their counterparts and students at JNU who are protesting the arrest of the university’s students’ union president in a sedition case.
Support came in from Hyderabad University’s Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, which itself is fighting for justice for Rohith Vemula.
“Joint Action Committee for Social Justice (UoH) strongly condemns the attack on students all over the country, the planned attack on JNU students by the State, the arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, police brutality and militarization of campuses, the attack on University autonomy and constant State intervention in Universities,” it said in a statement.
Expressing solidarity with the JNU teachers and students, Nandita Narain, president of Federation of Central University Teachers Association (FEDCUTA), asserted that the opposition raised by the students was “anti-establishment and not anti-national”.
“The event could be in bad taste but was not seditious. Whatever opposition the students have is against the present government and not against the Constitution. This kind of police action against the students on the pretext of national security is uncalled for,” she said.
Students of Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), who were supported by JNU students in their protest against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman, expressed solidarity with the agitators and accused the government of harassing and threatening those who dare to oppose its ideology.
In a letter to the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) Harishankar Nachimuthu, the president of the Students’ Association, FTII said, “We express our solidarity with the JNU students and condemn the random arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy and demand his immediate release. The current government has not learnt anything from the tragic death of Rohith Vemula and is continuing with the vilification, harassment and threat to those who dare to oppose its ideology.”
A faculty of Ambedkar University said, “Today it is JNU, tomorrow it could be any other university. Any voice of dissent being branded as anti-national is dangerous for any educational institution or community at large. No university should allow such indiscriminate raids on student hostels.”