‘JNU events signal culture of authoritarian menace’

February 16, 2016 11:04 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:34 pm IST

JNU students demanding the release of union president Kanhaiya Kumar in New Delhi.

JNU students demanding the release of union president Kanhaiya Kumar in New Delhi.

Eminent professors from prestigious universities, including Noam Chomsky and others, have written condemning the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, and expressing solidarity with the students and faculty protesting the government action on campus. The signatories also condemn "the culture of authoritarian menace that the present government in India has generated".

Here's their statement and the list of signatories:

We have learnt of the shameful act of the Indian government which, invoking sedition laws formulated by India’s colonial rulers, ordered the police to enter the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus and unlawfully arrest a student leader, Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar, on charges of inciting violence - without any proof whatever of such wrongdoing on his part.

From the reports of a large number of witnesses and the most highly respected journalists in the country, these are the known facts that no impartial observer denies: In a student meeting, acting well within the rights he possesses by the law of the land, Mr. Kumar spoke critically of the BJP government’s policies. On the previous day, at some other event, which he had no part in organising and at which he did not speak, a handful of other students, not even identifiable as students of the university, were shouting slogans about the rights of Kashmiris to independence from Indian military oppression over the last many decades. Mr. Kumar, whose speech (widely available on a video) cannot in any way be connected with the slogans uttered on the previous day, was nonetheless arrested for ‘anti-national’ behaviour and for violating the sedition laws against the incitement to violence. Since there is no evidence to establish these charges, we can only conclude that this arrest is further evidence of the present government’s deeply authoritarian nature, intolerant of any dissent, setting aside India’s longstanding commitment to toleration and plurality of opinion, replicating the dark times of an oppressive colonial period and briefly of the Emergency in the mid-1970s.

These actions of the police have brought great dishonour to the government; and the failure of the Vice-Chancellor to speak out against these actions and moreover to allow the suspension of seven other students on charges that have not been established by a fair and transparent inquiry, will bring great dishonour to the most prominent university in the country in the eyes of the academy all over the world.

We, the undersigned, take a stand of heartfelt solidarity with the students and faculty of Jawaharlal Nehru University in their efforts to resist these developments on its campus and, in the name of the liberties that India and Indian universities until recently could take for granted, we not only condemn the culture of authoritarian menace that the present government in India has generated, but urge all those genuinely concerned about the future of India and Indian universities to protest in wide mobilisation against it.

Signed by:

1. Noam Chomsky, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

2. Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Laureate, Turkey

3. Jonathan Cole, Former Provost of Columbia University, USA

4. Judith Butler, Professor of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley

5. Richard N. Zare, Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University, USA

6. Robert Wade, Professor of International Development, London School of Economics, UK

7. Akeel Bilgrami, Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University, USA

8. Dimitri Papadimitriou, Director, Levy Institute, Bard College, USA

9. Mriganka Sur, Professor of Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

10. Jan Breman, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Amsterdam University, The Netherlands,

11. Sanat Kumar, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Columbia University, USA

12. Sheldon Pollock, Professor of Sanskrit, Columbia University, USA

13. Barbara Harriss-White, Emerita Professor of Development Studies, Oxford University, UK

14. Partha Chatterjee, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University, USA.

15. N. V. Ramana, Professor of Physics, Princeton University, USA

16. James Galbraith, Professor of Economics, University of Texas at Austin, USA

17. Charles Taylor, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, McGill University, Canada

18. Servaas Storm, Professor of Economics, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

19. Arjun Appadurai, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University, USA.

20. Alicia Puyana Mutis, Professor of Economics, Flacso, Mexico.

21. Robert Pollin, Professor of Economics, University of Amherst at Massachusetts, USA

22. Juan Carlos Moreno Brid, Professor of Economics, Universidad National de Mexico, USA

23. Gerald Epstein, Professor of Economics, University of Amherst at Massachusetts, USA

24. Pasuk Phongpaichit, Emerita Professor, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok Thailand.

25. Kanti Rai, leading leukemia specialist, USA

26. Gauri Vishwanathan, Professor of English, Columbia University, USA

27. Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, UK

28. Jennie Traschen, Professor of Physics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA

29. David Kastor, Associate Head of Department of Physics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA

30. Ugo Pagano, Professor of Economics, Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy

31. Mira Nair, Film Director

32. Ozlem Onaran, Professor of Economics, University of Greenwich, UK

33. Engelbert Stockhammer, Professor of Economics, University of Bristol, UK

34. Gary Dymski, Professor of Applied Economics, University of Leeds, UK

35. Arjun Jayadev, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA.

36. Elissa Braunstein, Colorado State University, USA

37. Alicia Giron, Universidad National de Mexico, USA

38. Daniele Tori, University of Greenwich, UK

39. Pablo Bortz, Universirty of San Martin, Beunos Aires, Argentina

40. Daniela Gabor, UWE Bristol, UK

41. Annina Kaltenbrunner, University of Leeds, UK

42. J.George Waardenburg, Emeritus professor in development economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

43. Fernando J. Cardim de Carvalho, Emeritus Professor, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

44. Mario Tonveronachi, Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy

45. Jan Kregel, Director of Research, Levy Institute, Bard College, USA

46. Thomas Ferguson, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA

47. Malcolm Sawyer, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Leeds, UK

48. Thea Harvey-Barratt, Levy Institute, Bard College, USA

49. Amrita Chhachhi, International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague Netherlands

50. Noemi Levy, Universidad National de Mexico, USA

51. Ilhan Dogus, University of Hamburg, Germany

52. Edward Fullbrook, Executive Director, World Economics Association

53. Brendan Burchell, University of Cambridge, UK

54. Vamsi Vakulabharanam, Professor of Economics, University of Amherst at Massachusetts, USA

55. Sripad Motiram, University of Massachusetts at Bosto, USA

56. Stefano Zambelli, Universita di Trento, Italy

57. Andrew B. Tylecote, Emeritus Professor, University of Sheffield, UK

58. Jing Cai, University of Aberdeen, Scotland

59. Julian Wells, Kingston University, UK

60. Mehmet Kerem Coban, Lee Kuan Yew Institute of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

61. Andres Lazzarini, University of San Martin, Argentina

62. Radha Upadhyaya, University of Nairobi, Kenya

63. Riccardo Bellofiors, Universita di Bergamo, Italy

64. Carolina Alves, University of London

65. Pritam Singh, Oxford Brookes University, UK

66. Stephanie Seguino, University of Vermont, USA

67. Nicolas Pons-Vignon, EHSS, Paris

68. Sergio Cesarotto, Universita di Siena, Italy

69. Tomas Rotta, University of Greenwich, UK

70. Robin Blackburn, Cullman Fellow, New York Public Library

71. David Freedberg, Director, Warburg Institute, University of London

72. Mario Seccareccia, University of Ottowa, Canada

73. Jens Lerche, University of London, UK

74. Kevin Gallagher, Boston University, USA

75. Maria Cristina Marcuzzo, Università di Roma "La Sapienza", Italy

76. Pascal Petit, University of Sorbonne, Paris France

77. Deepankar Basu, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA.

78. María Cecilia Ainciburu, Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy

79. Eugenia Correa, Universidad Nacional de Mexico, Mexico City

80. Wendy Olsen, Professor of Socio-Economics, University of Manchester, UK

81. Radhika Balakrishnan, Rutgers University, USA

82. Eduardo Strachman, Sao Paulo State University, Brazil

83. Wesley Colin Marshall, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Iztapalapa, Mexico

84. Trevor Evans, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany

85. Geoffrey C. Harcourt, University of New South Wales, Australia

86. Terrence McDonough, National University of Ireland, Galway

87. Rod O’Donnell, University of Sydney, Australia

88. David Bromwich, Professor of English, Yale University, USA

89. Alfredo Saad Filho, SOAS, University of London, UK

90. Victoria Chick, Professor Emerita, University College London, UK.

91. Makoto Itoh, Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo, Japan

92. Nobuharu Yokokawa, Musashi University, Tokyo, Japan

93. Giovanni Vaggi, University of Pisa, Italy

94. Terence J, Byres, Professor Emeritus, University of London, UK

95. C.W.M. Naastepad, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

96. Matilde Adducci, University of Turin, Italy

97. Michael Landesmann, University of Vienna, Austria

98. Heinz D. Kurz, University of Graz, Austria.

99. Pascal Petit, University of Paris 13, France.

100. Alessandro Roncaglia, Universita La Sapienza, Rome Italy

101. Daniela Venanzi, Universita Roma 3, Italy

102. Rune Skarstein, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

103. Josef Poeschl, Vienna, Austria

104. Lionello Punzo, Universita di Siena, Italy

105. Issa Shivji, Director, Nyerere Resource Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

106. Terry McKinley, SOAS, University of London, UK

107. John S. Saul, Professor Emeritus, York University, Canada

108. Mehmet Ugur, University of Greenwich, UK

109. Rachel Kurian, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

110. Matias Vernengo, Bucknell University, USA

111. Andrea Ginzburg, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

112. Mahmood Mamdani, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

113. Vijay Prashad, Trinity College, USA

114. Elmar Altvater, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany

115. Carlo D'Ippoliti, La Sapienza University of Rome

116. Francesca Bettio, Universita degli Studi di Siena, Italy

117. Carlo Panico, Universita Federico II, Naples, Italy

118. John Bellamy Foster, University of Oregon, USA

119. Amitava Krishna Dutt, University of Notre Dame, USA

120. Antonio Yúnez-Naude, El Colegio de Mexico, Mexico

121. Jonathan W. Moses, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trndheim, Norway

122. Peter Lawrence, Keele University, UK

123. Gilad Isaacs, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

124. Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormick, Birkbeck College, UK

125. Greg Albo, York University, Canada

126. Grazia Ietto-Gillies, Emeritus Professor, London South Bank University, UK

127. Antonella Palumbo, Roma Tre University, Italy

128. Hannes Lacher, York University, Toronto, Canada

129. Andrea Salanti, University of Bergamo, Italy

130. Antonella Stirati, Università Roma Tre, Rome, Italy

131. Deborah Fahy Bryceson, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

132. Tore Linné Eriksen, Oslo University College of Applied Sciences, Norway

133. Roberto Ciccone, Universita Roma Tre, Italy

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