Academics Condemn 'Orchestrated Witch-Hunt' Against Those Who Dissent

"We...strongly condemn every attempt being made at gagging forms of dissent and enforcing regimes of censorship."

New Delhi: The Indian Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (IACLALS), an international group of scholars that organises an annual conference and brings out a journal, has issued a statement condemning “manufactured charges” against those who protest against the Narendra Modi government.

The association has said that the government has created a “climate of fear and intimidation”, and brought up charges against activists and academics including Hiren Gohain and Anand Teltumbde.

The IACLALS has more than 750 members. The full text of their statement is below.


The Indian Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (IACLALS) expresses its deep dismay over the continuing assault on civic freedoms and constitutional rights of writers, teachers, students, human rights activists and public intellectuals in the country. The current political climate of fear and intimidation – fuelled and vindicated by the state and the ruling party – has simultaneously targeted entire communities through a range of religious-ethnic violence, as much as it has sought to silence conscientious voices that have spoken up against such onslaughts. Vacuous rhetorical constructions like “anti-national” and “urban Naxal” – with no basis in fact or in principles of democratic governance – have been repeatedly manufactured as the grounds for punitive-legal action and media trials, through the invoking of outdated
colonial codes like the sedition laws. The latest of these forms of orchestrated witch-hunt has seen the attempted arrest or chargesheeting of Hiren Gohain, Anand Teltumbde and of several JNU students – in the cause of raking up an electoral consensus against the spirit of scientific inquiry and free-thinking.

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The IACLALS’ academic investments have engaged with and gained from the works and ideas of these scholars, who now face the ire of the state. As a scholarly association, we believe in the need and power of a critical public sphere, as the only promise of a living democracy. We stand in firm solidarity with them, and strongly condemn every attempt being made at gagging forms of dissent and enforcing regimes of censorship.