//Let us Protect the idea of JNU

Let us Protect the idea of JNU

Professor Marx addressing Press conferenceNew Delhi,Feb, 25, 2016 : The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) sent a team to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi to express its solidarity with the students and teachers who are fighting for their constitutional rights of free speech within the campus.

The members of the team are:  Prof. A.Marx, Chair Person, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) G.Sugumaran, Ex Co  Member, NCHRO. P.Abdul Nazar, National President, Campus Front of India. Anees Ansari, Stae President, Popular Front of India, Rajasthan, Sahibe Alam,  Social Activist, Uttar Pradesh.

The team visited the campus on 24-Feb-2016 and met various sections of students and teachers and spent a whole day with them. The people whom we met include Shehla Rashid (Vice President, JNUSU), Sucheta De (National President, AISA), Lenin (Former JNUSU President), Theepanchan (SFI), Jayabalan (Scholar), Kavitha (scholar), Geetha (Scholar), Prof Ajit Kanna (JNUTA), Prof  Jothi Bhosley (Jt. Secy, JNUTA).

We also met so many other students and scholars in the campus.

After 12 days strike the campus has slowly starts to work from Feb 22 onwards though full-fledged academic activities are not yet begin. We found some seminars are going in few departments and some research scholars discussing with their guides.

The student organizations were discussing in the union building about their future course of action. Though the government is adamant in refusing bail to the arrested students, the student organizations are determined to continue their struggle till their leaders are released and cases against them are withdrawn.   The teacher’s organization which supported the cause of the students is very strong in its commitment and at the same time they are not refusing to take classes to those who come. “Struggle while studying is our policy” said one professor we met.

Large numbers of police personnel are standing in the gate and only after enquiry they allow students and others to enter the campus. The students said that there were more police in the previous days and no outsiders were allowed in the campus. Only because the two students Umar Khalid and Anirban Battacharya surrendered in the previous midnight the vigilance at the gate was little reduced and we were able to enter and meet the students and teachers.

altWe are much worried about the tough stand taken by the BJP government against the students of JNU. The Delhi Police Commissioner daily changes his stand on the release of the arrested students on bail. Almost all the media has criticized his volte- face on this issue. The police say that sedition charges are filed against three more students (Anant Prakash, Rama Naga, and Ashutosh Kumar) and they have not yet surrendered.  But the students say that though the police  saying this in the media no notice had been served to them till date. The Prime Minister continues his silence regarding this burning issue while the MLAs and MPs of his party and other fringe elements of Sangh Parivar are spreading all sorts of nonsense against the students and teachers of JNU. The students are refused bail but the thugs who brutally attacked Kanhaiya Kumar and others within the court premises are celebrated and released on bail immediately.

We strongly condemn the arrest of JNU Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar, student activists Umar Khalid and Anirban Battacharya and the police crackdown on the students and their supporters.  The way in which the BJP government acted after the February 9th incidents makes us wonder whether we are living in Germany under Hitler.  The draconian sedition law enacted by the colonial British Govt against the freedom fighters is now used against students who had assembled to express their views about the way in which the Indian Government executed Afsal Guru . The hanging of Afsal Guru without following the mandatory procedures such as informing his wife and child was condemned by eminent persons such as Justice Markandeya Katju and Justice A.P.Sha. Even the BJP’s alliance partner People’s Democratic Party had condemned it. Speaking in support of the right to self-determination is also not a crime. It is said that somebody in the crowd had shouted pro Pakistani slogans. But certainly the students who are now slapped with sedition charges had nothing to do with this. Some other people in the crowd might have done this. If it is a crime the police should have investigated it and those actually responsible for raising the slogans might have been identified and arrested.  A video clipping is also circulated in which it is said that some ABVP students who are shouting these slogans. If this is proved then it is a pre-planned mischief to attribute false motives to the students who had organized the event.  Initially the Delhi police was mad enough to pick up many innocent youths saying that they ‘resemble’ JNU students. Now there is a report in a newspaper that many Kashmiri students are on the run fearing arrests as well as attacks by right wing thugs.

The former Delhi University Prof S.A.R. Geelani was also arrested under sedition and criminal conspiracy charges for conducting a press meet on Afsal Guru. It is alleged that some ‘anti national’ slogans were raised in the press meet. But no other evidences such as video clippings were produced by the police except the statements of some ‘eye witnesses’.

The BJP government and the BJP’s student’s wing have earned a very bad name in handling the students issues in IIT, Chennai and Hyderabad Central University. Now in the midst of increasing opposition to their action against JNU students , in a bid to  save their face the home minister Rajnath Singh had gone to the extent of saying that the Pakistani extremist Hafis Sayeed is behind the JNU  students  who are arrested now. This ridiculous charge was made by a responsible senior minister even after the release of the video clippings in which Kanhaiya Kumar is found speaking that he loves India and has full faith in the constitution of India.

The dividing line between nationalism and fascism is very thin. As the political scientist Lawrence Britt has said the main defining characteristic of fascism is the constant use of patriotic motives, mottos and symbols. Disdain for the recognition of human rights violations, defining and targeting liberals and secularists as enemies of the nation, emphasize on the supremacy of military, obsession with national security, giving more powers to police, protecting corporate power, weakening of labour organizations  are other defining characteristics of fascism. The present BJP regime satisfies all these criteria to be termed as fascist

We demand immediate unconditional release of Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Battacharya  and the withdrawal of all charges including sedition and criminal conspiracy framed against the students of JNU.

We demand immediate unconditional release of the former Delhi University Professor S.A.R Geelani.

We condemn the vice chancellor of JNU who lacks moral courage to oppose the political pressure and is taking actions against his students who are already slapped with sedition charges. He is not consistent in his actions and it is he who is responsible for all that has taken place in JNU on and after Feb 9th. First he gave permission to hold the event on Feb 9th and just ten minutes before the start of the event he cancelled the permission which made other students who are not associated with the event to come in support of them.

altWe demand that the high level committee appointed by the JNU administration is to be completely dissolved and a fresh broad and inclusive panel is to be appointed to probe the incidents on Feb 9th. Earlier the VC had said that he would include a legal luminary and a person representing the minorities in the panel. But now he says that just two more members are going to be added.

We congratulate the teachers and students of JNU who solidly stand behind those arrested under false charges.

We demand that the home minister Rajnath Singh should resign from the cabinet for having spread false propaganda against the JNU students as Pakistani extremists are behind them.

We demand that all the laws enacted in the colonial era are to be reviewed in the light of the Indian constitution and those laws that are out of tune with the constitution should be abolished.

National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO) is calling on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience targeted for their political or human rights activism. The clampdown on student protesters at JNU and their supporters reflects the government’s growing intolerance of critical voices and political dissent, and comes in the context of increasing restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in the country.

The relentless use of the Sedition Act to silence any dissent must end immediately. This amounts to a serious assault on freedom of expression that has had a chilling effect on public debate in the country. As per Supreme Court ‘Sedition’, are the acts which have a tendency and intention to disturb law and order or incite violence. NCHRO express serious concern about the excessive use of sedition charges and dangerous trend of activists being labelled as anti-national and targeted. NCHRO dismayed at the continued harassment and intimidation of students, journalists, activists and human rights defenders.

NCHRO reiterates its call to carry out prompt, independent, impartial and efficient investigations into allegations of Politically motivated Arrests, Thrashing journalists and JNU students and teachers in the Patiala House court complex and all incidents that lead to the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Battacharya and  S.A.R. Geelani. Those found responsible must be brought to justice in trials.

We express solidarity with the students and teachers of JNU who are fighting for their constitutional rights. Let us Protect the idea of JNU.