Skip to main content

Noam Chomsky, Orhan Pamuk condemn Modi govt's "authoritarian menace", "unlawful" arrests at JNU

Chomsky, Pamuk
By Our Representative
International pressure against police action against Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) sharply shot, with top names including Noam Chomsky, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Laureate, Turkey, condemning "the culture of authoritarian menace that the present government in India has generated".
Calling the government move to invoke the colonial sedition law against the “unlawful arrest” of JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar “shameful”, the statement says, the charge of inciting violence is “without any proof whatever of such wrongdoing on his part.”
The statement, which has been signed by 133 prominent academics across the world, the statement quotes “reports of a large number of witnesses and the most highly respected journalists in the country”, saying, “This arrest is further evidence of the present government’s deeply authoritarian nature.”
Other major signatories include Jonathan Cole, Former Provost of Columbia University, USA; Judith Butler, Professor of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley; Richard N Zare, Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University, USA; Robert Wade, Professor of International Development, London School of Economics, UK, among others.
The statement says, it also shows that the Government of India is “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.”

Known facts

Pointing towards “known facts that no impartial observer denies”, the statement says, “In a student meeting, acting well within the rights he possesses by the law of the land, Kumar spoke critically of the BJP government’s policies.”
It further says, “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.”
It adds, “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.”
Insisting that “actions of the police have brought great dishonour to the government”, the statement says, “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.”
Expressing “heartfelt solidarity with the students and faculty of Jawaharlal Nehru University”, the statement appreciates “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.”
It says, “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.”

Comments

TRENDING

Banned? Indian ports 'received' 38 US plastic waste containers reexported from Indonesia

By Rajiv Shah
An Indonesia-based international environmental watchdog group has dug out what it has called “a global pollution shell game”, stating how officials in Indonesia approved re-exports of “illegal” US waste shipments containing plastics mainly to India, as also to other Asian countries -- Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam -- instead of returning them to the US “as promised.”

Cops' 'inability' to deliver justice? Model Gujarat ranks 12th among 18 major states

By Rajiv Shah
A Tata Trusts study, released in Delhi on Thursday, has ranked “model” Gujarat 12th out of 18 major states it has analysed across India to “assess” the police's capacity to deliver justice. Several of the advanced states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as well as some of the so-called Bimaru states such as Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are found to have ranked better than Gujarat.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

People's pressure? GPCB mining cancellation 'notice' to top cement unit in Gujarat

By Sagar Rabari*
Environmental Clearance (EC) was given to Ultratech Cement Co Ltd for limestone mining in villages Talli and Bambhor of Talaja taluka in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat on January 5, 2017. EC was issued ignoring, overriding and undermining opposition from local farmers to mining activity in the area. The mining in these two villages covers an area of 193.3268 hectares (ha), while the entire project is spread over an area of 1,715.1311 ha.

Bullet train acquisition: Land holding worth Rs 1.5 crore, Gujarat govt 'offer' Rs 8 lakh

By RK Misra*
Foundation stones laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi litter India’s cities, towns and villages, but there are few projects which he has pursued with such perseverance and tenacity as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train one. However, the overwhelming state power notwithstanding, the farmers, whose lands are being acquired for the Modi government’s dream project, have no plans to give up the fight.

NHRC notice to Gujarat chief secretary following silicosis deaths in Rajkot

By Our Representative
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Gujarat chief secretary and the district magistrate, Rajkot, to respond to a complaint filed by health rights activist Jagdish Patel of the People's Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, regarding the alleged death of Raju Prakash Parihar and two others reportedly because of silicosis, a fatal occupation disease, in Rajkot, one of Gujarat’s top cities.

Concern in UK over BJP supporters, Hindu charity 'interfering' in general elections

By Our Representative
Following apprehensions of “foreign interference” in Canadian elections, which took place last month, from several countries, including India, a similar a concern is now reported with regard to the next month’s United Kingdom general elections. The concern has particularly come from Labour Party candidates, who are citing campaign by “India-linked Hindu nationalist group” targeting Labour candidates.