New Delhi: Faculty members of the IIT, Bombay, students, researchers and teachers of IIT Delhi and the students’ union of the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) in Shillong condemned the “violent attack” by ‘masked goons’ on the JNU campus.
In separate statements, members of the three educational institutes condemned the violence on the evening of January 5, in which many students and faculty members of JNU were injured.
While the faculty members of IIT Bombay said that the attack is “part of systematic attacks on all institutions in the country, including academic ones”. “We have watched with dismay the failure of universities and other academic institutes to protect their members; the cases are too many to be all listed here, but along with JNU we name Aligarh Muslim University and Benaras Hindu University, and even Jamia Millia Islamia,” said around 140 signatories in the statement.
Meanwhile, about 250 students and faculty members of IIT Delhi held a peaceful demonstration on Monday, standing in solidarity with JNU. The students said they stand against “such suppression and silencing of peaceful protests since it is antithetical to their lives”. According to those who held the demonstration, a “few bystanders attempted to disrupt the proceedings” but the situation was controlled and the protest continued peacefully.
The students’ union of NEHU, in a press release, strongly condemned the “indiscriminate assault on our fellow students” of JNU. “We stand with our brothers and sisters during this tragic period. Students are universally recognized as the future of the world, yet, regretfully, the students of JNU, Delhi were brutally attacked inside the campus which is accepted as a secure environment. This attack portrays the senseless and oppressive ‘goondaism’ mind-set of the attackers,” the union said.
Read the full statements issued by the faculty members of IIT Bombay and the teachers and students of IIT Delhi below.
Solidarity statement condemning attack on students and faculty members of JNU
We, the undersigned faculty members of IIT Bombay, strongly condemn the violent attack on students and faculty members of Jawaharlal Nehru University on the evening of January 5, 2020. We see this as part of systematic attacks on all institutions in the country, including academic ones. We have watched with dismay the failure of universities and other academic institutes to protect their members; the cases are too many to be all listed here, but along with JNU we name Aligarh Muslim University and Benaras Hindu University, and even Jamia Millia Islamia where the administration has vocalized its attempt to defend the students. We reassert the right of freedom of expression the Constitution of India grants us, and thus the right of intellectual engagement that follows from it including the right to debate, dissent, and protest democratically and peacefully within academic campuses as well as outside. We emphasize the intellectual autonomy of academic institutions to function without fear. The undersigned have issued this statement in their personal capacity.
As teachers, researchers, students and concerned individuals at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, we strongly condemn the attack by masked goons (allegedly belonging to the ABVP) on unarmed JNU students and faculty on the evening of 5 January 2020 with rocks and rods while the police looked on. We condemn police apathy towards the instances of threats, intimidation, and assault by RSS affiliated goons on students, faculty members, and others gathered around to protest the JNU violence.
At a time when protests all over the country are emphasizing the need to protect the Indian Constitution and the basic principles of liberty, equality, and the right to freedom of speech, the unprecedented attack on JNU students and faculty is unacceptable. University campuses and colleges offer a safe, unarmed space for debate, discussion, and learning for students from diverse regional and class backgrounds, and must continue to do so. They are the lifeblood of democracy. After the police brutality at Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, this time masked goons are deliberately creating a “culture of fear” on public university campuses. Yogendra Yadav, a former faculty member at JNU, was stopped from entering the campus and was attacked for speaking to the media. Street lights were turned off outside the North Gate. Police inaction at JNU on January 5 enabled the attackers to proceed unhindered, both inside and outside the JNU campus. Against a mob armed with sharp weapons, the students, including the girls in their hostel rooms, were left to defend on their own. The ambulances were not allowed entry inside the campus, and some who were taking the injured students were attacked by the goons.
The JNU registrar and Vice Chancellor (who also teaches at IIT Delhi), failed to fulfil their responsibility to provide a safe and secure campus to the students peacefully asserting their demands and protesting against the state oppression, which is a fundamental right given to every Indian Citizen under article 19 of the Indian Constitution. We, at IIT Delhi, stand against such suppression and silencing of peaceful protests since it is antithetical to our lives as students and researchers, and curtails our growth as responsible citizens of the nation. As we understand, the situation which is emerging after a recent series of planned attacks on students inside the university campus is unprecedented and needs immediate attention from all corners of the academic world. We urge everyone to stand against the fascist face of the government, and stand with us in safeguarding the Indian Constitution, which is constantly put under attack in the past few months.
We stand in defense of the freedom and safety of our academic spaces and fraternity. We stand because if we don’t we will become complicit in the takeover of our educational spaces by reign of terror. We demand:
- that the Registrar Pramod Kumar and the University Vice Chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar take moral responsibility for their failure to guarantee the safety of their students and faculty. Such a total breakdown in campus safety is unconscionable.
- prompt medical aid to those injured.
- a fair and impartial inquiry into the events of January 5 that will hold the perpetrators of the attack accountable.