Academics, activists back JNU protests

A group academicians and activists including Peoples Union for Civil Liberty president Prakash N Shah have urged President Pranab Mukherjee for institution of an “impartial” inquiry into the JNU row and repealing of sedition law.

In a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday, they also demanded arrest of BJP MLA O P Sharma, lawyer Vikram Chauhan and others for attacking JNU students, teachers and media persons as well as JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who is facing charge of sedition, on Patiala House Court premises.

“While dissociating ourselves from anti India pro-Pakistan slogans in JNU campus, we are horrified to watch the unprecedented authoritarian arm-twisting punitive measures like witch-hunt in the campus and slapping sedition charge on JNU students union president by the BJP led NDA government at Centre as per the direction of Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani,” they said.

This came on a day when support to the Left-backed student unions protest against Kanhaiya and others is pouring in from across the world.

While over 120 research scholars from University of Massachusetts expressed their solidarity with the JNU students’ protest by issuing a joint statement, more than 130 ex-JNU teachers and scholars from Manipur demanded that the government must stop “harassing” the students and “all charges” against Kanhaiya and others be dropped.

“We, the undersigned, are appalled by the conduct of the present regime against the JNU where students are being hunted down for debating on an issue which is also close to the heart of Manipur. There is critical need for deepening dialogue on the very idea of India so that many nations and nationalities have space for their expressions rather than stifling them within a very narrow definition of India,” the group of ex-JNU teachers and scholars from Manipur said.

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