'Dangerous Precedent': Academics Criticise Criminal Complaint Against Prof Who Spoke on Manipur

"It is indeed most unfortunate that his views — based on considered opinion and professional investigations — have been construed as criminal by individuals outside the academic community."

New Delhi: A group of 32 academic based in universities in India and abroad have issued a statement in solidarity with Professor Kham Khan Suan Hausing. Hausing is a professor of political science at the University of Hyderabad.

Hausing was summoned by the Imphal East district court on July 6 after its chief judicial magistrate, Ashem Tarunakumari Devi, took cognisance of complaints made against him by Manihar Moirangthem Singh, a member of the Meitei Tribes Union (MTU). The complaint was based on an interview Hausing had given to Karan Thapar for The Wire, about the ongoing ethnic conflict in Manipur.

“Prof Hausing has conducted impeccable research on federalism, ethnic conflicts, nationalism, and aspects of civic life and inter-ethnic relations in Northeast India and political processes in India for over two decades now. He is a widely cited author who has published in some of the most reputable journals within the country and abroad. Moreover, he has mentored several generations of youth from the region, and has continued to inspire young researchers across India. His commitment to research is commendable, and he is a very respected member of the academic community,” the academics have said in their statement.

“It is indeed most unfortunate that his views — based on considered opinion and professional investigations — have been construed as criminal by individuals outside the academic community. While we believe that our research work has to engage with a non-academic audience, we are deeply troubled by the disproportionate and facetious response that his views have generated among a section of the wider public.  The filing of criminal complaints against academics who share their views in the public sphere sets a dangerous precedent. It paves the way for unwarranted censorship of speech, thought, and democratic exchange of views. As professionals who work and write about issues in Northeast India, we feel that such actions tantamount to the erosion of safe spaces for academic research. It will hamper the intellectual growth and exchange of ideas, not just among our peers, but also among the next generation of scholars,” the continue.

Signatories of the statement are:

  1. Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty, former Professor of Political Science, University of Delhi
  2. Prof. Joy Pachuau. Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  3. Prof Dolly Kikon, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne
  4. Dr. Charisma Lepcha, Department of Anthropology, Sikkim University
  5. Mr. Harekrishna Deka, Noted Assamese poet & former DGP, Assam
  6. Prof. Swargajyoti Gohain, Ashoka University
  7. Dr. Lovitoli Jimo, Ambedkar University Delhi
  8. Prof. Akhil Ranjan Dutta, Department of Political Science, Gauhati University
  9. Dr. Mabel Gergan, Department of Asian Studies, Vanderbilt University
  10. Dr. Anjuman Ara Begum, Royal School of Law and Administration, Royal Global University
  11. Prof. Sanjay (Xonzoi) Barbora, School of Social Sciences and Humanities , TISS, Guwahati Campus
  12. Prof. Manajari Katju, Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad
  13. Prof. Joydeep Baruah, Surya Kumar Bhuyan School of Social Sciences, KK Handiqui State Open
  14. Dr Roluahpuia (In individual capacity)
  15. Prof. Toshimenla Jamir, Department of Sociology, Nagaland University
  16. Prof. Ujjwal Kumar Singh, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi
  17. Prof. Manorama Sharma, former Professor of History, NEHU
  18. Prof. Apurba Baruah, former Professor of Political Science, NEHU
  19. Dr Raile Rocky Ziipao, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
  20. Dr Saroj Giri, Department of Political Science, Delhi University
  21. Dr Amrita Gogoi, Department of Political Science, Dibrugarh University
  22. Prof Udayon Mishra, former Professor of English, Dibrugarh University
  23. Dr Dixita Deka, NESRC Guwahati
  24. Dr Meenal Tula, NESRC Guwahati
  25. Prof. Sarat Phukan, Department of Geology, Gauhati University
  26. Prof. Nandini Sundar, Department of Sociology, Delhi University
  27. Dr. Gaurav Rajkhowa, post-doctoral research associate, Edinburgh University
  28. Dr. Mitul Baruah, Ashoka University
  29. Prof. Amit Baishya, Department of English, University of Oklahoma
  30. Dr. Ngamjahao Kipgen, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati
  31. Prof. Sanghamitra Choudhury, Department of Political Science, Bodoland University
  32. Dr. Vasundhara Jairath, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati