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

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.