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'Allow critical thinking': SAARC-sponsored varsity teachers support protesting students

By Our Representative
Teachers of the high-profile South Asian University (SAU), a New Delhi-based international institute sponsored by eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – have supported “peacefully protesting students and other citizens” against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
In a solidarity statement, 28 faculty members of all major departments of the university, ranging from computer science, mathematics, life sciences and biotechnology to international relations, economics, sociology and legal studies said they were “deeply disturbed” by the developments at the Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI) and the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in the last few days.
“As it is well documented now through the media reports and eye witness accounts of students, on December 15, 2019 police entered JMI and AMU and assaulted and detained the students who were peacefully protesting against CAA and NRC”, the statement said.
Underlining that universities are “places for critical thinking and for expression of ideas”, the statement said, “Use of force against the students protesting peacefully against the CAA and NRC violates the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution of India.”
Condemning the “highhanded action of the police on students”, the statement urged the Government of India and state governments to “refrain from using force against the peacefully protesting students and other citizens across India”, even as seeking investigation into the “assault on the peacefully protesting students.
It said, the perpetrators of violence must be identified, appropriate action must be taken against them, and efforts should be made to “re-establish” trust in the rule of law.
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Click here for list of signatories

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