#StandWithJNU: Solidarity Statement by Academics in the UK

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the students, faculty, and staff of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). We condemn the BJP government-sanctioned police action in the JNU campus and the illegal detention of the JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar. We strongly condemn the manner in which political dissent is being stifled, reducing academic spaces to fortresses. We also condemn the widespread witch-hunt of left-wing students and student groups that this police action has unleashed.

These recent acts are representative of the larger trend that we have been observing – the imposition of an authoritarian and regressive agenda in institutions of higher learning from Films and Television Institute [FTII], Hyderabad Central University [HCU] to Jawaharlal Nehru University [JNU]. From the institutional murder of HCU student, Rohith Vemula, and the suppression of student protests at FTII to the illegal detention of the student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar and pervasive police presence at JNU, there has been a constant non- observance and disregard of administrative and legal norms as well as a gross infringement of the democratic rights of the student community. These actions are embedded in a deeply chauvinistic cultural nationalism, which espouses a casteist and Brahmanical, homophobic, and patriarchal worldview.

jnusu protest

Students protesting in Delhi carrying placards highlighting the need to save constitutional democracy and to fight against state repression. Image Courtesy : Facebook

We strongly believe that student politics is being targeted currently by giving a new lease of life to a sedition law that was a draconian tool in the hands of the colonial state and has no place in a democracy. It is our democratic right to dissent, disagree, organise and struggle against state, institutions or policies that transgress and suppress democratic and egalitarian values. Expression of dissent cannot and should not be equated with being ‘anti-national’ (or any other such constructed category) and is definitely not punishable under law especially if it is non-violent. Disguising targeted assault on oppositional student groups/political movements within the narrative binaries of nationalism/anti nationalism only reflects how vulnerable the BJP government feels in its own ability to provide accountable governance.

We also believe that institutions of higher learning should be publicly funded spaces for political engagement, debates, and critical discussions – a legacy campuses (be it JNU, DU, or FTII) have embodied. As they always have, university spaces should subsidise costs of education for students, irrespective of the political disposition of the students. A rather disturbing feature of the narratives around this issue has been the construction and furthering of an artificial dichotomy between academics and politics that suggests that being ‘political’ is an aberration. This would certainly appear to be the case, if seen through the neoliberal lens of perceiving education as an industry that produces ‘semester bred’ automated ‘disciplined’ individuals who are mere consumers.

However, as the nonviolent expressions of dissent by students in JNU clearly demonstrate, contrary to this neoliberal view of academia, we believe that ‘personal is political’ and there is no sphere that is devoid of politics. We believe that good academic work necessarily involves a critical engagement with society and its power inequities and in that sense is always politically engaged. This engagement thrives in the democratic space of the university where many dissenting views can be heard and debated. The vilification of JNU as a space of ‘anti-national’ politics is being carried out by ABVP and BJP in order to attack and break this democratic spirit of academic and political life in Indian universities.

As teachers, students, scholars, and academics from the UK, who are keenly observing the developments unfolding in JNU, we express our solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of JNU as they non-violently resist this infringement on their rights. We urge the Vice Chancellor of JNU to uphold the institutional autonomy and the democratic rights of the student community. We also urge the government of India to stop encroaching on our rights as citizens, students, activists, political and politicised subjects.

1.Akanksha Mehta, SOAS, University of London
2.Priyanka Basu, SOAS, London
3.Neha Vermani (JNU, 2013), Royal Holloway college, University of London
4.Partha Pratim Shil, PhD student, Trinity College, University of Cambridge
5.Niyati Sharma, University of Oxford
6.Dr. Benarji Chakka, Chevening Scholar, SOAS, UoL
7.Javed Wani, Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London
8.J. Chacko, University of London.
9.Jay Lingham, SOAS, University of London
10.Anjali B Datta, University of Cambridge
11.Shinjini Das, University of Cambridge
12.Jaice Sara Titus, Brunel University London
13.William Rees, SOAS, (2015)
14.Alex Wolfers PhD Researcher at Cambridge University
15.Aditya Balasubramanian, University of Cambridge
16.Mayur Suresh, SOAS.
17.Lipika Kamra, University of Oxford
18.Sneha Krishnan, University of Oxford
19.Prashant Kidambi, University of Leicester
20.Dr. James Eastwoos (SOAS, University of London)
21.Rohan Deb Roy, Lecturer in South Asian History, University of Reading
22.Prerna Bhardwaj, King’s College London
23.Tristan Burke (University of Manchester)
24.Surabhi Ranganathan, University of Cambridge
25.Sanya Samtani, University of Oxford
26.Baisali Mohanty, Post-graduate candidate, contemporary south asian studies, University of Oxford
27.Prithvi Hirani, Aberystwyth University
28.Dr Lorenza Monaco, SOAS, University of London
29.Suman Ghosh, Bath Spa University
30.Nayanika Mathur, University of Cambridge
31.Lakshmy Venkatesh Marie-France Courriol, University of Cambridge
32.Jayesha M. Koushik, University of Oxford
33.Aditya Ramesh, SOAS
34.Umika Pidaparthy, University of Oxford
35.Sruthi Muraleedharan, SOAS, University of London
36.JD Brown, SOAS, London
37.Sudarshana Srinivasan, King’s College London
38.Wiktor Ostasz (University of Oxford)
39.T Khaitan, University of Oxford
40.Erica Wald, Goldsmiths, University of London
41.Sanjoy Bhattacharya, University of York, UK
42.Dr. Thomas Marois, SOAS, University of London
43.Saba Hussain, University of Warwick
44.Feyzi Ismail, SOAS Joe Buckley, PhD candidate, SOAS, University of London
45.Sandipto Dasgupta, Newton International Fellow of the Royal Society and the British Academy
46.Annabelle Sreberny, Emeritus Professor, SOAS, University of London
47.Sahil K. Warsi, University of Leeds
48.Subir Sinha, Department of Development Studies, SOAS
49.Sabiha Allouche, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London
50.Abhay Regulagedda – MIPLC
51.Jaimie Johansson, University of East Anglia
52.Shabnum Tejani, Senior Lecturer in Modern South Asian History, Department of History, SOAS, University of London
53.Dr Kerem Nisancioglu, SOAS University of London
54.Alfredo Saad Filho, SOAS University of London
55.Arijeet Pal, University of Oxford
56.Elisabeth Leake, Royal Holloway, University of London
57.Musab Younis, Oxford University and SOAS
58.Smitana Saikia King’s College London
59.Dr Rahul S Gandhi BSc (Neuroscience) MBCHB, Member – Royal Australasian College of Physicians
60.Sara Stevano, SOAS University of London
61.Rachel Harrison, SOAS
62.Jonathan Daniel Luther (SOAS)
63.Abeera Khan, MA Gender Studies, SOAS
64.Alexandra Tzirkoti, PhD. King’s College London
65.Aditya Sarkar, Warwick University
66.Teja Varma Pusapati, D.Phil Student in English, University of Oxford
67.Secki P. Jose, PhD candidate, University of Leicester
68.Shreya Sinha, SOAS, University of London
69.Dr. Ashok Kumar, Queen Mary University of London
70.Steven Martin, University of Cambridge
71.Dr Helen Elsey, University of Leeds
72.Dr Mandy Turner, Middle East Centre, LSE
73.Zarah Sultana, NUS Black Students’ Campaign
74.Nicholas Simcik Arese, University of Oxford
75.Dr Aravinda Guntupalli, Senior Lecturer in Public Health, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
76.Lisa Tilley, University of Warwick
77.Uttara Shahani, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge
78.Nadje Al-Ali SOAS
79.Saumya Saxena, University of Cambridge
80.Diya Gupta, Department of English, King’s College London
81.John Wood Aberystwyth University
82.Dimitra Kotouza, University of Kent
83.Nilanjana Sen Graduate Student King’s College London
84.Gerhard Kling, SOAS University of London
85.Akhila Yechury, University of St. Andrews
86.Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, SOAS, University of London
87.Rudra Sen (SOAS)
88.Cam Stocks, Medical Student, Barts and The London School of Medicine
89.Manjeet Ramgotra, SOAS University of London
90.Dr. Juanita Elias, University of Warwick
91.Sarah Gandee, University of Leeds
92.Roy, SOAS
93.Dr Richard Williams, University of Oxford
94.Tom Cowan, King’s College London
95.Dr. Layli Uddin, Royal Holloway
96.Dr Sarah Hodges, History, University of Warwick
97.Emma Hart, University of St Andrews
98.Meenakshi Sinha, King’s India Institute, King’s College London
99.Antonio Ferraz de Oliveira – University of Warwick
100.Eve Tignol (Royal Holloway University of London)
101.Ashwitha Jayakumar, MA student, University of Leeds
102.Alastair McClure, PhD Student at the University of Cambridge
103.Amir Khan – University of Cambridge
104.Javier Moreno Zacarés, Warwick University
105.Professor Stephen Hopgood, SOAS University of London
106.Jordan Osserman, UCL
107.Josh Holroyd, Socialist Appeal
108.Ina Goel, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University College London
109.Julian Benda, SOAS
110.Ola Innset, European University Institute
111.Nicole Beardsworth, University of Warwick
112.Fatima Rajina, SOAS
113.Karthikeyan Damodaran, University of Edinburgh
114.Vanya V Bhargav, University of Oxford
115.Meghna Nag Chowdhuri, University of Cambridge
116.Ranjita Neogi, University of Reading
117.Aparna John, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
118.Omar Raii, UCL
119.Ashna Sarkar – UCL
120.Garikoitz Gómez Alfaro, University of Brighton
121.Tom Cunliffe, KCL
122.Mihika Chatterjee, University of Oxford
123.Kavita Maya (SOAS, University of London)
124.Niharika Pandit, master’s candidate, SOAS
125.Jonathan Saha, University of Leeds
126.Farooq Sulehria. Graduate Teaching Asst. SOAS, London
127.Shreya Agrawal, Student at UCL
128.Malia Bouattia, NUS Black Students’ Officer (UK)
129.Amogha Varsha (University of Oxford, UK)
130.Amelia Bonea, University of Oxford
131.Avinash Paliwal, King’s College London
132.Amrita Shodhan, SOAS, University of London
133.Jacob Bard-Rosenberg, Birkbeck College, University of London
134.Laurence Gautier, University of Cambridge
135.Smriti Sawkar, University of Oxford
136.Arianna Tassinari (University of Warwick)
137.Anindya Raychaudhuri, University of St Andrews
138.Onaiza Drabu, University of Oxford
139.Mipsie Marshall University of Sussex
140.Amit Kumar, DPhil Chemistry, University of Oxford
141.Ishan Mukherjee, University of Cambridge
142.Dr. Urmimala Maitra, University of Oxford
143.Sahil Nijhawan (Student, University College London)
144.James Caron. Lecturer in Islamicate South Asia, SOAS, University of London
145.Anirudh Mathur, Student, Inner Temple
146.Maia Barkaia, (JNU, 2010),Research Fellow, LMH, Oxford University
147.Sheiry Dhillon, DPhil OB/GYN (C) MD (C)
148.Jacob George Pallath, GDL student at University of Westminster
149.Sadie Young. Coventry University
150.Dr Nicholas Cimini, Lecturer and EIS-ULA Exec member at Edinburgh Napier University
151.Leandro Vergara-Camus, SOAS, University of London
152.Chandak Sengoopta, Professor of History, Birkbeck College, University of London
153.Ozan Kamiloglu, Associate Lecturer, University of London, Birkbeck
154.Selbi Jumayeva, Visiting Research Fellow, IGS at LMH University of Oxford
155.Somak Biswas, University of Warwick
156.Divya David, University of Oxford
157.Mihika Chatterjee, University of Oxford
158.Mishka Sinha, University of Cambridge, UK
159.Emile Chabal, University of Edinburgh
160.Radhika Govinda, University of Edinburgh
161.Varun Ramesh – University of Oxford
162.Nat Raha, University of Sussex
163.David Dahlborn, UCL
164.Lesley Hoggart, The Open University, UK 165. Chinmay Sharma SOAS
165.Sahil Kureshi, University of Oxford
166.Leshu Torchin, University of St Andrews
167.Ankita Pandey, D. Phil candidate, University of Oxford
168.Ameya Kelkar-SOAS, London
168.Maanasa SOAS
169.Dr Ghazala Mir, University of Leeds
170. Sinthujan Varatharajah, UCL Geography
170.Deepa Kurup, University of Oxford
171.Secki P Jose, University of Leicester
172.Dr. Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick
173.Sneha Menon, University of Oxford
174.Yasser Shams Khan, University of Oxford
175.Harry Stopes, University College London
176.Nithya Natarajan, SOAS
177.Dr Marika Rose, Durham University
178.Mansi Sood, Student, University of Oxford, 2015-16
179.Mukulika Banerjee, Director of LSE South Asia Centre and Associate Professor of Anthropology, LSE
180.Fatima Shahzad, Postgraduate Student, SOAS, University of London
181.Rodrigo Torres, UCL
182.Kanika Sharma, Birkbeck, University of London
183.Paavani Singh – King’s College London
184.Mallika Leuzinger, University College London
185.Kashish Madan, M.A. English Literary Studies, Durham University
186.Grace Egan, University of Glasgow
187.Joseph McQuade, University of Cambridge
188.Amrita Lamba, SOAS
189.Sarah Kunz – PhD student, UCL
190.Shamim Zakaria, University of Sussex
191.Rubina Jasani, University of Manchester
192.Moiz Tundawala, PhD candidate, London School of Economics and Political Science.
193.Aditya Ray, Queen Mary University of London
194.Rahul Rao, SOAS, University of London
195.Dr Lee Jones, Queen Mary University of London
196.Manish Kushwaha, University of Warwick
197.Kalpana Wilson, London School of Economics and Political Science
198.Daniela Lainez del Pozo – University College London
199.Praveen Priyadarshi, PhD Candidate, London School of Economics
200.Anju Christine, King’s College London
201.Amogha Varsha (University of Oxford)
202.Ashutosh Kumar, University of Leeds, UK
203.neha kagal, Doctoral Scholar, SOAS
204.Dr Hannah Boast, University of York
205.Phiroze Vasunia, University College London
206.Saawani, King’s College London
207.Saawani Raje, King’s College London
208.Sanghita Sen, University of St. Andrews. Scotland
209.Dr Rohit K Dasgupta (WSA), University of Southampton
210.Utsa Mukherjee, Royal Holloway
211.Senjuti Chakraborti, Birkbeck College, University of London
212.Aakshi Magazine, University Of St Andrews
213.Souraj Dutta, Research student, University of St Andrews, Scotland
214.Megan Robb, University of Oxford
215.Andrew Kinnell, President of Stirling Students Union
216.Grant Buttars, University of Edinburgh
217.Johannes Makar, student at SOAS and KU Leuven
218.Dr Anandi Ramamurthy, Sheffield Hallam University
219.Anish Vanaik, Purdue University (Oxford, 2013)
220.Akshyeta Suryanarayan, University of Cambridge
221.Eleanor Newbigin, SOAS, University of London
222.Rubina Jasani, University of Manchester
223.Siddharth Chawla, Cambridge University
224.Dimble Mathew University of Bradford
225.Kshiti Gala, SOAS, University of London
226.Bjorn Berntson, University College London
227.Sreenanti Banerjee, Birkbeck, University of London
228.Pori Saikia University of Essex
229.James Harland (Department of History, University of York)
230.Kanwar Nain Singh, University of Cambridge
231.Ayça Çubukçu, Assistant Professor in Human Rights, London School of Economics and Political Science
232.Dr Satoshi Miyamura, SOAS, University of London
233.Kyle Jordan (UCL)
234.Gautam Bondada, D.Phil student, University of Oxford
235.Tom Robinson, UCLU Welfare & International Officer
236.Ettore Morelli, School of Oriental and African Studies
237.Dr Jayasree Kalathil, Survivor Research, UK
238.Tvisha Nevatia, LSE
239.Karin Sjöstedt, SOAS
240.Prof. Joya Chatterji, University of Cambridge
241.Dr Peter Dwyer, Ruskin College, Oxford
242.Dr Chris Rossdale, University of Warwick
243.Rama S. Dieng, SOAS
244.Anish Augustine, Queen Mary, University of London
245.Sofa Gradin, Queen Mary University of London
246.Nandini Maharaj, Sheffield Hallam University
247.Shivangi Pareek, University of Cambridge
248.Shubranshu Mishra, University of Kent
249.Dr. Ritanjan Das, University of Portsmouth
250.Ananya Rao-Middleton, University of Cambridge
251.Ganga Shreedhar, London School of Economics
252.Swapna Kona Nayudu, LSE
253.Elizabeth Frazer, Head of Department, Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford
254.Dr William McEvoy, University of Sussex, UK
255.Prof. William Gould, University of Leeds
256.Marta Garcia Aliaga (SOAS, University of London, and NALSAR)
257.Ayse Zarakol, University of Cambridge
258.Prof Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Warwick
259.Lisa Skwirblies, Ph.D. Candidate (University of Warwick)
260.Dr. Louiza Odysseos, University of Sussex
261.Dr. Alex Anievas, University of Cambridge
262.Dr Meera Sabaratnam, SOAS
263.Dr. Kirsten Forkert, School of Media, Birmingham City University
264.Dr. Eda Ulus, University of Leicester
265.Premalatha Balan, University of Nottingham and University College, London
266.Adelie Chevee, SOAS, University of London
267.Manishita Dass, Royal Holloway (University of London)
268.Rosalind Galt, King’s College London
269.Priyasha Mukhopadhyay, Oxford
270.Rod Earle, Dept of Health & Social Care, The Open University
271.Caoimhe Mader McGuinness, Queen Mary University of London
272.Julie Dayot University of Oxford
273.Sai Englert, PhD candidate, SOAS, University of London
274.Sonali Campion, London School of Economics
275.Dr Cathy Bergin, University of Brighton
276.Aditya, University of Oxford
277.Akshi Singh, Queen Mary, University of London
278.Karan Katoch, University of Oxford
279.Raghav Kishore, University of Huddersfield
280.Dr Tanvi Pate, PAIS, University of Warwick
281.Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak, University of Salford, UK
282.Konrad M Lawson (Lecturer St Andrews)
283.Professor Emilia Jamroziak, University of Leeds
284.Anwesha Sengupta, University of Oxford
285.Andy Rixon The Open University UK
286.Natalie James, UCLU
287.Mirna Guha, PhD Candidate. School of International Development, University of East Anglia
288.Sita Balani King’s College London
289.Steffan Blayney, Birkbeck, University of London
290.Mehroosh Tak, SOAS
291.Tanya Singh, University of Wolverhampton
292.Kathryn Maude, Swansea University
293.Hilary Aked, University of Bath
294.Dr. S.V.P. Capildeo, Affiliate, St. John’s College, University of Cambridge
295.Dr. Katy Sian, University of York
296.S Lidher (Cambridge)
297.Paul Kirby, University of Sussex
298.Gayathri Sekhar, King’s College London
299.Dr. Marijn Nieuwenhuis, Politics and Int. Studies, University of Warwick
300.Lorena Lombardozzi (SOAS)
301.Alen Toplisek, Queen Mary University of London
302.Dr. Owen Clayton, University of Lincoln, UK
303.Dr Terese Jonsson, University of Portsmuth
304.Alexandra Sporidou Nottingham Trend University
305.Professor Azrini Wahidin, Nottingham Trent University
306.Janhavi Mittal, King’s College London
307.Špela Drnovšek Zorko, SOAS, London
308.Aapurv Jain, SOAS, University of London
309.Noelle Richardson
310.Vicki Baars
311.Abhilasha Joshi, DPhil Neuroscience
312.Fuad Ali, OtherAsias
313.Miqdad
314.Zara Kayani
315.Jack Bardsley
316.Joel White
317.Pallavi Roy
318.Vinayak Raj Gathoria
319.Suchitra Sebastian
320.Shariq
321.Debanjali Biswas
322.Umer Malik
323.sabahat ijaz
324.Sharon Mallon
325.Arushi Menon
326.Umang Kamra
327.Kaushik Banerjee
328.Saumya Singh
329.Sophie Mayer (independent scholar)
330.Zara Qadeer
331.Darshana Gurung
332.Sahiba student masters
333.Nihad Ahmed
334.Nasir Arafat
335.Shreya Chatterjee
336.Edyth Parker
337.Sinjini Chatterjee, student
338.Daniel Ong
339.Sunny Singh
340.Ritika Bose
341.Sanaz Raji, Independent Research & Campaigner
342.Sameen Ali
343.Shruti Sekhar Ravindran
344.Shamira Meghani — scholar and teacher
345.Leon Sealey-Huggins
346.Neeharika Shetty
347.Abhishikta Mallick
348.Lakshmy Venkatesh
349.Deepa Kurup, Oxford University

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