A little under 300 members of the Indian Institute of Science, predominantly students/researchers but including some faculty members as well, have issued a statement of concern against the Delhi riots; according to the statement, they “strongly condemn the failure of the Government of India in discharging its duties towards the protection of life and property.”
The Delhi riots have, as of February 27, claimed 38 lives and left over 200 people injured. They broke out earlier this week after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra undertook a rally in Jaffrabad against people protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), and issued a three-day ultimatum to the Delhi police to “clear” the roads of protestors. While the Delhi police has only recently commenced investigations into the violence, spread out over parts of northeast Delhi, anecdotal reports suggest mobs of Hindu right-wing workers and supporters of the CAA were responsible, including for burning down Muslim establishments, mosques and homes, and planting saffron flags.
The full statement is reproduced below, and the list of signatories is available to view here.
We are deeply concerned by recent developments across the country and especially with the current situation in Delhi. We are anguished by the grave incidents of violence in Delhi over the past few days and the loss of life of a number of ordinary citizens and a policeman. The communal targeting of Muslim communities across Delhi and elsewhere is antithetical to the secular and democratic ethos of India.
The maintenance of law and order in the city of Delhi is the responsibility of the Government of India. We strongly condemn the failure of the Government of India in discharging its duties towards the protection of life and property. We demand that the Government of India take urgent measures to prevent further deterioration of the situation and restore peace and normalcy.
We believe that the following measures are essential to restore a modicum of normalcy in Delhi and elsewhere in India:
1. Stern action should be taken under the provisions of the law against all individuals indulging in incitement to violence and those actively participating in rioting, arson and attacks on people and property.
2. Immediate provision of medical, material and legal help to everyone affected by the violence in Delhi and elsewhere. We also demand that a mechanism of adequate compensation be put in place for those who have lost their loved ones, suffered injuries or have had their property damaged or destroyed.
Over the past two months there have been a number of peaceful protests against the provisions of the CAA, NRC and NPR. Peaceful forms of dissent are among the rights of citizens of a democracy. We call upon the Government of India to protect the right to peaceful and non-violent dissent and engage in constructive dialogue to resolve the concerns being raised.
This statement is being issued in personal capacity of all the undersigned members of IISc Bengaluru.