Intellectuals decry arrest of JNUSU president

Intellectuals decry arrest of JNUSU president

Nearly 400 scientists, faculties and researchers predominantly based in India have joined the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Union Students protest, demanding release of student leader Kanhaiya Kumar who was remanded by a court to 14-day judicial custody in connection with a sedition case.

The JNU Student Union protest also received support from academia across the world with as many as 86 eminent scientists and writers from, including renowned thinker Noam Chomsky and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, joining the chorus, noting in a statement the arrest of Kanhaiya had brought “great dishonour” to the Narendra  Modi government.

In a letter to the JNU Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, the group of scientists and faculties in India noted that “senior members of the government” have “aggressively targeted” the JNU students but the varsity administration failed to protect them.

“The JNU administration should have protected its students against these attacks and charges that have also vitiated the police investigation. We are deeply disappointed that you have failed to carry out this responsibility,” they said.

They described the arrest of Kanhaiya as “troublesome”, noting that he was allowed to put behind the bars even though he was not an organizer of the event held on the university campus in memory of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and that he was merely present there to express his solidarity.

“However, even as far the organizers and the speakers at the event are concerned, we hope that you recognize that expressing controversial views in a peaceful forum cannot be equated with sedition. We hope that you will take urgent corrective steps to ensure that the police releases the arrested students, and also to ensure that it drops the unsubstantiated charges against them,” they said.

They also hoped that the vice chancellor would take steps to protect “freedom of speech on the JNU campus” in future. 

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