More voices in UK join condemnation of police action in JNU

Joining the growing protests the world over against police action in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), and assaults on journalists at the Patiala House court complex in Delhi, nearly 300 students and alumni from Oxford University have issued a statement on Friday expressing solidarity with the JNU community.

Condemning “the ongoing persecution of the student community in JNU, in particular the arrest of JNU Students Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar under sedition charges”, the signatories protest the use of “institutional and state machinery to stifle dissent on campuses, and the attempt to persecute those whose views do not conform to the narrow narratives of ‘nationalism’, ‘nationhood’ and ‘Indian culture’ promoted and endorsed by the ruling party.”

The signatories have appealed to the Indian government and police “to understand us, first, as a broad spectrum of students, who believe in different ideologies, but [who have] come together to demand the right to hold these independent beliefs without the threat of state-sanctioned violence.” They see the JNU developments as part of a continuum of state intolerance towards legitimate dissent in many universities recently, like the Hyderabad University, where a Dalit research scholar committed suicide as a result of persecution, the Film Technology Institute of India, Jadavpur University, and IIT-Madras.

The statement condemns the recent attempts to criminalise dissent in universities by invoking clauses of the Indian Penal Code, especially the “anachronistic” provisions of the sedition law.

The London-based Indian Journalists Association (IJA) (Europe) has also sent a letter to the Indian High Commissioner to the UK expressing concern at the attacks on journalists at the Patiala House court complex.

The IJA expresses grave concern over the recent attacks on journalists in the Patiala House court premises in New Delhi. Indian journalism has a long history of performing its vital function, and any attempts to hinder the work of journalists can only be detrimental to democratic traditions that India is justly proud of. The IJA calls upon all stakeholders to take action against whom there is evidence, recognise and value the role of journalists, and ensure that such incidents do not recur.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 11, 2021 1:23:29 AM |

Next Story