Join Us in Protesting Right-Wing Attacks on Jawaharlal Nehru University

Join Us in Protesting Right-Wing Attacks on Jawaharlal Nehru University

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To: Narendra Modi

Prime Minister of India

We, the undersigned, are writing to express our deep concern and shock at the unfolding of events at JNU. On January 9, 2020, we learned that the Delhi Police detained students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) who were marching against the violence on the university campus. As we reported on January 5, 2019, dozens of masked men wielding sticks and iron rods attacked students and professors. At least 40 students and staff were admitted to the hospital with injuries.

Hindu Raksha Dal, a far-right group, has claimed responsibility for the brutal assault. This admission comes at a time when a video, which has now gone viral, shows ABVP’s Delhi Joint Secretary, Anima Sonkar, admitting on television that the two armed men seen in videos carrying rods on the JNU campus are from the RSS linked student union. Tomar, popularly known as Pinki Bhaiya, said he and his right-wing group take full responsibility for the attack.

The protesters were demanding the removal of JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar following the alleged inaction during the January 5th violence.  The police resorted to a baton charge to control the mob who tried to block the traffic. Using loudspeakers, the police appealed to the crowd to maintain peace. At least one protester was reported injured in the march.

Mr. Prime Minister, we believe that the current mistreatment of peaceful protestors and prevailing climate of fear is detrimental to the free academic exchange and the outstanding academic contributions that JNU scholars have made to various fields in the past.

We call on you today to protect the legal rights of students, faculty, and staff and to preserve the academic freedom and freedom of speech that has ensured JNU’s place among the foremost institutions of higher learning in India and abroad.

Politically motivated interference in the affairs of the campus and its academic and deliberative activities undermine the very basis of JNU’s internationally recognized excellence.

Please join Endangered Scholars Worldwide in condemning the brutal attacks on JNU students. Recently, there has been a rise in such extremist violence in India, including a series of attacks on bloggers and intellectuals who have been critical of the government. Students, professors, and academics have been increasingly targeted in violent attacks—an unacceptable trend that hurts the future of societies at large. Universities, as symbols of freedom, empowerment, and peace are attacked for the values they promote, values that stand in strong contrast with the extremist ideology now dominant in India.

CC:

Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India
Email:pmosb@pmo.nic.in
Fax:+ 91 11 2301 685

Shri D. Murugesan
Chief Justice of India
Email:supremecourt@nic.in

Michelle Bachelet
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Email: InfoDesk@ohchr.org

Dr. Koumbou Boly Barry
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Email: sreducation@ohchr.org

David Kaye
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Email: freedex@ohchr.org

Josep Borrell
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
European Commission
Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200
1049 Brussels
Belgium

Marija Pejčinović Burić
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Council of Europe
Avenue de l'Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex
France
Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99

Christophe Poirel
Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law Council of Europe
Avenue de l'Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex
France
Fax: + 33 3 88 41 27 99