Monday, January 6, 2020

Statement in solidarity with students and teachers of JNU and against violence on campus

We, the Nepali alumni and friends of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), unequivocally condemn the brutal violence on students and teachers of the University on Sunday, January 5, 2020.

On Sunday, over 100 masked hoodlums entered the JNU campus allegedly in collusion with the University administration and the police, and unleashed a coordinated attack on protesting students and teachers. Armed with rods and sticks, the hoodlums even entered the hostels of female students and thrashed them brutally.

More than 40 students and teachers, including JNU Students’ Union President Aishe Ghosh and Centre for the Study of Regional Development (CSRD) Professor Sucharita Sen, sustained severe injuries during the attack. That over 18 students and teachers have been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for treatment, explains of the heinous nature of the attack. We condemn the inaction of Delhi Police and JNU security officials, for remaining mere spectators during the attack, even as the students and teachers appealed for help in-person and over social media. 

The students of JNU have been protesting peacefully for the past 70 days against the hike in hostel and utility fees without proper consultation with the students. Rather than heeding the students' demands, the University administration has unilaterally decided to conduct exams for the Monsoon semester and admissions for the Winter semester excluding majority of the students. We salute the resolve of the students, and thank the teachers for supporting the students in their rightful protest against the University's high-handedness in deciding the students' future.

We condemn JNU vice-chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar for failing to provide security to the students and teachers of the University, and for allowing armed mob to enter the Campus, putting lives of the students and teachers in danger. We wish to convey to him that he failed in his duty as a vice-chancellor and teacher, and we urge him to begin a meaningful dialogue with the students to restore normalcy in the University campus as early as possible.

As Nepali alumni and friends of JNU, we are deeply concerned about the undemocratic way in which the University administration has hiked the hostel and tuition fees recently. This has resulted in a sever dip in the number of Nepali students at the University. In its fifty years of existence as India's premier University, JNU has produced outstanding scientists, administrators, journalists, and public intellectuals, among others, who have contributed to the betterment of India and the world. We, therefore, express our solidarity with the students protesting for their constitutionally guaranteed rights to education and freedom of expression.  

Further, we are alarmed at the way in which India's premier universities including JNU, Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Jadavpur University and Hyderabad Central University have come under systematic attacks in the past few years, with students and teachers being hounded for raising their rightful demands for quality education and freedom of speech. Sunday's attack on JNU students and teachers is in continuation of that series. Such attacks have created an atmosphere of fear among Indian and international students at various Indian universities. We wish to convey to the current Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that the international community is closely watching the unfortunate developments in India's universities. We call upon the government to ensure Indian universities remain secure for students, both from India and abroad.

We request Indian and international media to report freely and fairly on the developments at JNU and other educational institutions under attack. We urge the authorities to investigate the matter with utmost sensitivity and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Finally, we urge Nepal government to convey its concerns regarding the security of Nepali students studying in Indian universities, and request Modi government to ensure that the campuses remain secure for the students.

Date: January 6, 2020


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