University of Edinburgh #StandsWithJNU
Given the recent plight of students and teachers at Jawaharlal Nehru University, as fellow students at the University of Edinburgh, we express solidarity with the victims of ideological oppression led by the State. If expression of ideas at the risk of imprisonment by the authorities is a possibility within the world’s largest democracy, international support is a matter of moral and ideological obligation.
It would not be an exaggeration to claim that the violence affecting students at JNU as well as the suppression of dissent by the state and media, indicate a Dark Age in the Indian democracy. The manipulation of the basic tenets of the constitution for state-led warfare against students and teachers is painfully distressing. It also illuminates a collective ignorance regarding the rising problems for academic institutions; problems which are expediently ignored as “anomalies” within the system. For those who govern a society where sedition and freedom of speech co-exist, not only political discourse but the pursuit of life itself is manufactured as per the State’s prescription. This phenomena is undoubtedly a glimpse of the Fascist inclinations of the government and those who blindly support it. At such times, only ideological minorities are threats to the nation. Prison is the place for those who think differently.
The current spree of unjust yet “legal” actions is purported by the same authorities who think the presence of groups like JNUSU, ASA is a danger to everyone but the proliferation of the ABVP, a catalyst for patriotic growth. The suicide of Rohith Vemula, a minor incident among students but never a product of casteist discrimination. Suicides, a “norm” among farmers but hardly a matter of economical concern. Clearly, for a system which has departed from reason and democratic ideals, governance is only an opportunity for dictation. Such a state can bring about progress as much as a forest fire paves the way for spring. It is impossible not to see this as the rise of a saffronised, totalitarian state.
Nonetheless, it essential for all those who wish to live in a better and just world that these fascist measures cease, and the people take a unified stand. It is for this reason that we strongly condemn the actions taken against Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and several others who dared only to speak their mind. Moreover, we fully support the abolition of sedition in the IPC. We fully support the enactment of the Rohith Act to end caste discrimination in educational institutes. Also, we strongly condemn the multiple suspensions of student activists which have occurred at JNU based on a nationwide paranoia. It is with disdain that we observe the way the obscurantist national media portrays events taking place in Delhi. However, we hope that an internationally unified action will eventually expose the fascist attitude towards students and teachers. This is, to quote Orwell, a time of universal deceit, where telling the truth is a revolutionary act; a great hurdle for those who champion the cause of free thought and expression, which we must cross together.
Signed on the 24th of February, 18:45 pm at the University of Edinburgh, David Hume Tower
The University of Edinburgh Marxist Society, Momentum Edinburgh.