Save Academic Freedom
Preserve University Autonomy
An atmosphere of intimidation, repression and unrest has been unleashed by the government following from the arrest of the JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and two other students, Umar Khalid and Anirban. The autonomy of a University stands violated when the police raids hostels and detains students on the basis of the thinnest of evidence.
Universities must be nurtured as a space for intellectual experimentation and courageous thinking. They harbor the highest values that humanity aspires towards and in them there can be no place for fear of retribution. What concerns us most is that the incidents relating to JNU are not an isolated, but appear to be part of a concerted policy towards devaluing and thereby destroying higher education and academic freedom through intimidation. No more brutal example is needed than the criminalization of dissent, of speech, of argument; the very values and skills patiently sought to be inculcated in our schools and universities. Rohit Vemula’s life was tragically cut short by unwarranted interference of precisely such a sort.
We condemn such attempts in unequivocal terms and assert that the citizens of India must be allowed their fundamental right to voice their dissent. There is no surer touchstone for measuring either the pulse of a democracy or the heartbeat of a University.
The teaching community therefore demands:
1) The Government should respect the autonomy of the universities and stop interfering in matters internal to the university
2) Charges of sedition should be dropped against all students.
Prof. Satish Deshapande, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University
Prof. Sunil Kumar, Department of History, Delhi University
Prof. Neera Chandoke, (Retd.), Delhi University
Prof. Apoorvanand, Department of Hindi, Delhi University
Prof. Balveer Arora, (Retd.), Former Rector, JNU
Prof. Vikram Soni, UGC Professor of Physics
Prof. Rukmini Bhaya Nair, IIT Delhi
Mukul Kesavan, Department of History, Jamia Millia Islamia
Dr. Burra Srinivas, South Asian University
Dr. Rukmini Sen, Ambedkar University Delhi
Prof. Rajan Krishnan, Ambedkar University Delhi
And many others
Time: 3 pm onwards
/ 3rd March (Thursday)