26th February, 2016
Letter of Solidarity to the Students of JNU, New Delhi, India
As members of the South Asian communities at Tufts and Harvard, we stand in solidarity with the student protesters at Jawaharlal Nehru University against the unconstitutional detention of JNU Student Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and 7 other students on February 9th, as well as the subsequent illegal police action. These students have been charged with “sedition” for peacefully protesting India’s execution of Afzal Guru, an accused in the 2001 attack on Parliament, under an archaic, colonial law. We extend our solidarity to those who were beaten by law enforcement outside Patiala House District Court while voicing support for Kumar.
We condemn the repression of progressive voices such as Umar Khalid and other students and faculty by the Hindu right-wing forces of the government.
In a historic moment of dissent and political criticism, we are reminded that the engendering of Hindutva nationalism, religious communalism and conformity and other divisive, authoritarian ideologies propagated by the BJP government perpetuates state-sanctioned violence. This forced conformity to what is propagated by the Indian government as “nationalist”, is a deliberate silencing of political, intellectual and academic freedom (azaadi) and is an assault on the secular and democratic fabric of the nation.
As students of South Asian and diasporic communities in the United States, we express our solidarity. We vehemently reject the baseless charges of sedition and the unwarranted police action that are a result of a jingoistic and bigoted concept of “nationalism”.
We condemn the injustice taking place on JNU campus and stand in support of its brave students, faculty and all others who rise against the fascist behaviour of the Indian state.
Tufts’ South Asian Political Action Committee (SAPAC)
Tufts’ Association of South Asians (TASA)
Harvard South Asian Association (SAA)