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Alumni of Harvard, Yale and Other US Universities Condemn Police Violence in Jamia

The statement says that the violence indicates "complete negation of every norm that guide the functioning of the police in a democratic society".

New Delhi: Students and alumni of several prominent universities across the US issued a statement condemning the “brutal police violence unleashed against students” at Jamia Millia Islamia on Sunday. They said the attack is a “gross violation of human rights under the Constitution of India and International Human Rights Law”.

Students and alumni from Harvard, Columbia, Yale, New York University, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, MIT and many others universities have signed the letter, expressing solidarity with India students “who are peacefully protesting against the recent passing of the unconstitutional and discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act”.

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They said that “by every account, it appears that police and paramilitary, both at Jamia Milia Islamia University, and at Aligarh Muslim University, have used violence and pursued unlawful and reckless tactics against student protestors”. They also condemned the entry of police and paramilitary into university premises and the “brutal use of force against civilians”, which they said should “shock the conscience of any democratic society”.

The statement adds:

“These incidents of violence indicate complete negation of every norm that guide the functioning of the police in a democratic society governed by the rule of law. Seen further in the light of the fact that most victims of this brutality were Muslim, these incidents stand out as shocking instantiations of targeted violence against a minority group.”

The signatories also condemned the killing of five protestors in Assam in police firing. “This combined with the unlawful denial of access to the internet in the state, has completely blocked news reports of events on the ground, including the ability of the protestors to represent their demands and report unlawful police action,” they said.

The ban on internet was lifted early on Tuesday morning.

The statement demands the cessation of violence by the police, an immediate investigation “into the abuse of power by the Delhi Police, Uttar Pradesh Police, and the Central Reserve Police Force” and allowing students and protestors to continue to protest peacefully in exercise of their fundamental rights.

Read the full statement and the list of signatories below.

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Statement Condemning Recent Police Brutality in Indian Universities

We, students, alumni and the wider community, at universities across the United States of America, condemn the brutal police violence unleashed against students at Jamia Millia Islamia University and at Aligarh Muslim University on December 15, 2019 as a gross violation of human rights under the Constitution of India and International Human Rights Law. We express full solidarity with students across universities in India who are peacefully protesting against the recent passing of the unconstitutional and discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act.

The right to protest is a cornerstone of a constitutional democracy and is safeguarded as a fundamental right under Articles 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(b) of the Constitution of India. The right of all people to express their ideas and opinions through the medium of protest is also guaranteed through a number of core international human rights provisions, including the right to free expression under Article 19 of the ICCPR, which has been ratified by India.

Reports and accounts by journalists, students, lawyers, and activists (including credible information shared online) reveal horrific and excessive use of force by police and paramilitary against students. Any use of force by law enforcement must be within the strict confines of the principles of legality, legitimacy, necessity and proportionality under International Human Rights Law.

By every account, it appears that police and paramilitary, both at Jamia Milia Islamia University, and at Aligarh Muslim University, have used violence and pursued unlawful and reckless tactics against student protestors in violation of protections under the Constitution of India and International Human Rights law. The entry of police and paramilitary into University premises, indiscriminate attacks within the premises of the University including releasing tear gas in libraries, and brutal use of force against civilians is a blatant violation of the law and can only shock the conscience of any democratic society. Students have narrated that police rampaged through hostels and molested women on these campuses. Students from Jamia Milia Islamia were arbitrarily detained at police stations, and were denied their constitutional right to access legal representation. These incidents of violence indicate complete negation of every norm that guide the functioning of the police in a democratic society governed by the rule of law. Seen further in the light of the fact that most victims of this brutality were Muslim, these incidents stand out as shocking instantiations of targeted violence against a minority group.

We also condemn the use of violence against protestors in Assam where five people have died, including two minor boys who were shot by the police. This combined with the unlawful denial of access to the internet in the state, has completely blocked news reports of events on the ground, including the ability of the protestors to represent their demands and report unlawful police action.

We are deeply concerned about the statement of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India terming these protests as ‘riots’ and characterising this situation as simply one for the police to handle as a law and order problem, without recognising the violation of the rights of protestors, and especially the degree of violence unleashed on them.

We realize that our condemnation in this form can offer little succour to our fellow students who had to face the violence, and neither does it meaningfully resist the onslaught against constitutional norms. Nevertheless, in deep solidarity with our fellow students;

  • We demand cessation of violence by the police and their complete withdrawal from the university premises.
  • We demand an immediate, independent, and robust investigation into the abuse of power by the Delhi Police, Uttar Pradesh Police, and the Central Reserve Police Force.
  • We demand that student protestors be allowed to continue to protest peacefully in exercise of their fundamental rights under the Indian Constitution without any threat of use of force by the police or other law enforcement agencies.
  • We call upon officers of the Indian Police and Administrative Services to fulfill their duty to uphold the Constitution of India, and to resist any political demand to act in abuse of the powers that have been conferred upon them; and, to ensure police forces under their command act strictly in accordance with the constitutional, legal and ethical constraints that bind them.
  • We call on the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Amit Shah, to immediately take these necessary steps to curb police brutality, or resign. 

This statement can be signed by clicking the link here: https://forms.gle/rY9DywneBo9PbsGGA

 Signed by:

Sannoy Das Harvard Law School
Rupali Samuel Harvard Law School
Madhulika Srikumar Harvard Law School
Chinmay Kanojia Columbia Law School
Arvind Abraham Harvard Law School
Maithilli Pai Harvard Law School
Pavani Nagara Bhat Harvard Law School
Bahuli Sharma Harvard Law School
Govind Tharayil Manoharan Harvard Law School
Varun Gupta Harvard Kennedy School
Kaveri Iychettira Harvard University
Vikram Srinivas N/A
Bedavyasa Mohanty University of Michigan
Sasha Harvard Kennedy School
Sameeksha Khare Columbia University
Amay SIPA
Sanjana Rajgarhia Harvard University
Shruti Sharma Columbia University, SIPA
Jhalak Mrignayani Kakkar Harvard Law School
Anurag Bhaskar Harvard Law School
Disha Chaudhari Harvard Law School
Kabir Nanda Harvard University
Pankti Dalal Columbia- SIPA
Noopur Raval University of California Irvine
Mohan Pillai University of Cincinnati
Sanya Batra Columbia University
Deepika Kalra Columbia University
Pratiti Deb University of Chicago
Nayantara Columbia University
Meghna arora Maitreyi college
Raksha Thakur NA
Fariha Wasti Columbia-SIPA
Asha EFL University
Richa Mukerjee Columbia University
Nikhil Mandalaparthy University of Chicago
Devashish Godbole Georgetown University Law Center
Shadan Khan Columbia University
Dipshikha Ghosh Columbia University
Laboni Bhattacharya University of Southern California
Kritika University of Southern California
Shrabastee Banerjee Boston University
Madalsa Singh Stanford University
Jacob Ritchie Stanford University
Abhishek Bhattacharyya University of Chicago
Tarang Tripathi University of California, San Diego
Grace Gupta Chapman University
Shubham Shivang University of Chicago
Sunaina Pamudurthy Harvard Kennedy School
Madhav Malhotra University of Victoria
Damini Mohan Columbia University
Nishaat Mukadam Brandeis University
Jatin Tripathi Georgetown Law
Arpita Sarker Pennsylvania State University
Ritika Sinha Columbia Law School
Ashika Pratt Institute
Hiba Hasan Harvard Kennedy School
Shreyas Gadgin Matha Harvard Kennedy School
Anasua Chatterjee Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
Pallavi Khare Harvard Kennedy School
Kalyani Raut Institute of Development Studies
Shruti Kedia School of international and public affairs
Geeti Patwal SIPA
Max Virupaksha Katner Georgetown Law Center
Bindu Natesha Doddahatti University of Pennsylvania
Avantika Thakur Columbia University
Jackson Miller Harvard Kennedy School
Itamar University of Chicago
Samantha Happ Columbia University
Radhika Saxena University of Pennsylvania
Valerie Snow University of Pennsylvania Law School
Madison Gray Penn Law
Bhumika Chauhan New York University
Paresh Chandra Princeton University
Shruti Sriram Columbia University
Joseph The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Sharmin Hossain Equality Labs
Fletcher Progressive Initiative Fletcher School, Tufts University
Becca Lynch University of Pennsylvania Law School
Madhuri Mukherjee Fletcher School, Tufts University
Amrita Vasudevan Yale Law School
Caitlyn Passaretti Columbia University
Inayat Sabhikhi Harvard Kennedy School
Sophie Dover Harvard Kennedy School
Shashank Reddy The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Samer Hjouj Harvard Kennedy School
Chhavi Kotwani Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Bhargav Krishna Harvard University
Sindhura Vanamamalai Sowmithri Pratt Institute
Vinay Nagaraju Harvard Ash Center for Democratic Governance
Taha Khan Harvard University
Chinmayi Arun Yale Law School
Pratyusha Govindaraju Harvard University
Pratyasha Acharya Harvard
Ritwika Sen Northwestern University (Kellogg)
Kinshuk Kumar Harvard University
Aarushi Prabhakar Columbia University
Oviya Govindan UC Irvine
Hannah Furstenberg-Beckman Harvard University
Siddhant Agarwal Kellogg/Northwestern University
Sanjukta Poddar University of Chicago
Varada University of Chicago
Raghav Bikhchandani University of Chicago
Devleena Chatterji University of Minnesota
Amita Varma Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health
Ishani Tikku University of Chicago
Pranjal Chandra University of Chicago- Harris School of Public Policy
Nilanjana Bhattacharya University of Chicago
Thaenpaavai kannan Tufts University, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Jyoti Gupta Harvard Kennedy School
Neil M Tufts University, The Fletcher School
Miriam Cherayil Mount Holyoke College
Aparna Raman Boston University
Akshara Ravishankar University of Chicago
Siddarth Shrikanth Harvard Kennedy School
Tanima University of Chicago
Nuvodita Singh SIPA, Columbia University
John Santoro University of Pennsylvania Law School
Yajnaseni Chakraborti Temple University, Philadelphia
Nick Tackes Columbia University
Saniya Ali Columbia University
Pritha Chatterjee Harvard University
Diana Nabulsi Columbia University – SIPA
Alisha Miranda Harvard Graduate School of Education
Arushi Mittal Harvard Graduate School of Education
Preksha Singh Harvard Education School
Sayori Ghoshal Columbia University
Debjani Dutta University of Southern California
Prerna Munoth Harvard Graduate School Education
Ian Kumekawa Harvard University
Gaurav C Garg New York University
Balaji Alwar Harvard University
Upasana Dutta University of Chicago
Aniesh Chawla Purdue University West Lafayette
Srinath Purdue University
Madhu Kushwaha University of Maryland
Sneha Lamba Johns Hopkins University
Rabea Eghbariah Harvard Law School
Alex Khoury Harvard University
Shaiba Rather Harvard Law School
Debak Das Cornell University
Majid Waheed Harvard Law School
Earu University of Rochester
Sarah Schwartz Harvard Law School
Darshana Mini University of Southern California
Swapna Gopinath University of Rochester
Disha Verma Harvard Law School
Uponita Mukherjee Columbia University
Maithili Parikh Harvard Law School
Sarandha Jain Columbia University
Aruna Sankaranarayanan Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Snigdha Shahi Harvard Kennedy School
Debashree Mukherjee Columbia University
Poornima Rajeshwar Harvard Kennedy School
Aparna Subramanian New York University
Gayas Eapen North Carolina State University
Amanat Boparai Harvard Kennedy School
Sayantani Mukherjee Columbia University
Kriti Bhardwaj University of Chicago
Disha Chaudhari Harvard Law School
Pranay Tarafdar Florida State University
Ragini Jha University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Mike Miccioli Harvard University
Piper Winkler Harvard University
Nida Rais Harvard Law School
Vatsala Sharma Harvard Graduate School of Education
SITI KHAIRI COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
Ruy Martinez Harvard University
Jenisha Shrestha Columbia University
Georges Clement Harvard Kennedy School
Nafisa Adama Harvard Law School
Anindya Chanda Florida State University
Yanitra Kumaraguru Harvard Law School
Ahmed Farooq Harvard Law School
Mohammad Raza Haider University of Cambridge
Luna Borges Harvard Law School (LLM’ 19) and University of Brasília, Brazil
Jaideep Pandey University of Michigan
Emily Morrow Harvard Law School
Nour Nicolas Harvard Law School
Daniella Simari Columbia University
Enakshi Saha University of Chicago
Josiah Senu Harvard Law School
Rahul Ghosal North Carolina State University
Pongnut Thanaboonchai Harvard Law School
Bobbi Murphy Harvard Law School
Raven Graf Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Kirsten Valania University of Pennsylvania Law School
Farah Bougarras Harvard University
Rosemary Harvard Law School
Aislinn Kelly-Lyth Harvard Law School
Kritika Anand Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health
Vatsal Vasudev Harvard Law School
Ishita Dharap School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Vandinika Shukla Harvard Kennedy School
René Sharanya Verma New York University
Shreya Prakash Harvard Graduate School of Education
Anagha Ingole Columbia University
Pratik Ranjan Das Columbia Law School
Poorvi Vijay Harvard Business School
Niharika Sanyal Harvard Graduate School of Education
Padmini Boruah University of San Diego
Prineeta Kulkarni Harvard Business School
Jayshree The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Zayba Abdulla Harvard Kennedy School
Nivedita Mukhija Columbia Law School
Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi Barnard College, Columbia University
Vaibhav Yadav Harvard Business School
Burjis Godrej Harvard Business School
Desmond Chu Harvard Law School
Sowmya Dechamma CUNY
Jonathan Lesser Columbia University
Sanjam Ahluwalia Northern Arizona University
Jheel Manish Doshi None
Asif Shaikh Texas A and M University College Station
Shrey Kapoor Harvard Business School
Aalok Thakkar University of Pennsylvania
Shivangi Bishnoi Paris School of Economics
Hanan Hassan El-Kathiri Harvard Law School
Kriti Jha Stanford Law School
Arisha Salman Columbia University
Majd Harvard Kennedy School
Avi Anshika Harvard Graduate School of Education
Jeremiah C Hay Kennedy school
Mattias Rättzén Harvard Law School
Niyas Moidu Pratt Institute, Brooklyn
Aasma John Columbia University
Ankush Bhuyan Columbia University
Eklovya Jain University of Pennsylvania
Riazul Hoque Columbia University
Sarah Levenstam University of Chicago
Ritika Popli Ohio University
Parnika Praleya University of Chicago
Hiresh Choudhary Columbia Law School
Anushka Siddiqui Harvard Kennedy School
Abhijith Asok Harvard University, Microsoft
Teja Vemuri The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Prakriti Mukerjee University of Colorado-Boulder
Mansi Bhatt University of Michigan
Maria Geigel Harvard Law School
Sanjna Surya UPenn School of Medicine
Eren Sozuer Istanbul University, Harvard Law School (LLM ’19)
Aratrika Mustafi Columbia University
Sakshi Kumar Harvard Kennedy School
Rwiti Roy Florida State University
Tilottama Dey Purdue University
Pranay Shetty Columbia Business School
Mohitrajhu Lingan Kumaraian University of Pennsylvania
Ishan Santra Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Prakrati Thakur University of Illinois
Tanay Jaipuria Harvard Business School
Nivedita Venkateish Columbia Business School
Tushar Misra University of California Berkeley
Ishita Dharap School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Vandinika Shukla Harvard Kennedy School
Shreya Prakash Harvard Graduate School of Education
Prashanth V Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Martin Montenegro Harvard Kennedy School
Prashanth V MIT Cambridge
Palash Biswas University of Michigan
Deep Rao Palepu Columbia Law School
Andrea Neyra Nazarrett _
Abhishek Patil University of Pennsylvania
Adam Sherman Harvard Kennedy School
Daniel O’Farrill Cortes Harvard Law School
Shweta Chopra University of Pennsylvania
Mayank Manuja MIT
Laboni Bhattacharya University of Southern California
Nirmita Mehra IIITD
Namya Mahajan Harvard Business School
Amshuly Chandran Stanford Law
Chetkar Jha University of Pennsylvania
Ananya Sen Carnegie Mellon University
Sohini Chattopadhyay Columbia University
Elisa Harrold Cambridge University
Michael Anthony Turcios University of Southern California
Michael Stellitano ramapo college
Pegah Ebrahimi University of Michigan
Udit Ranjan University of Minnesota
Soumya Sinha The University of Chicago
Dhruv Gupta University of Oxford
Ravindra Saxena University of Pennsylvania
Aanchal Sharma University of Pennsylvania
Amruthesh Thirumalaiswamy University of Pennsylvania
Sanjay Joshi Northern Arizona University
Tom Jose University of Pennsylvania
Pavneet Kaur Narang Northeastern University, Boston
Damini Sharma University of Chicago
Tanvi Grover Carnegie Mellon University
Ruchi Mahadeshwar Brown University
Roshan Zubair Mohammad University of Connecticut
Oviya M Govindan UC Irvine
Blanka Soulava Harvard Kennedy School
Ahona Palchoudhuri Brown University
Arighna Gupta University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Shohini Kundu University of Chicago
Nidhaanjit Jain University of Chicago
Smit Chitre Harvard University
Kritika Vohra Harvard Law School
Anna Marchenko UC Berkeley
Soham Parikh University of Pennsylvania
Prerna Srigyan UC Irvine
Domenic Powell University of Pennsylvania Law School
Sinjini Chatterjee University of California, Riverside
Andrew Loh Harvard University
Aksha Nanavati New York University
Soumya Sankar University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sasmira Matta University of Pennsylvania
Preksha Naik California Institute of Technology
Cathy GCC
Sabareesh Nikhil Chinta Harvard Business School
Sai Sathvik Nuthalapati Columbia university
Asheley Siewnarine Harvard Kennedy School
Suraj Nair UC Berkeley
Jenisha Borah University of Chicago
Shivam Salhotra Columbia University
Sarika Mendu Harvard Business School
Chelsea Columbia University
Radhika Ghosal Harvard University
Noopur Sen Harvard University
Harvard South Asian Law Students Association Harvard Law School
Ravi Teja Konkimalla University of Pennsylvania
Aaron Mukerjee Harvard Law School
Bansal Shah Texas A&M University
Blanka Soulava HKS
Ariel Ashtamker Harvard Law School
Julia Anderson Harvard Kennedy School
Isha Jain Harvard Law School
Carly Margolis Harvard Law School
Kyle Yoder Harvard Kennedy School
Cynthia Ahmed Harvard Law School
Nathan Lobel Harvard Law School
Aditi Shah Harvard Law School
Mackenzie Bouverat Harvard Law School
Mohd Raghibul Haque Michigan State University
Andrew Keefe Harvard Law School
Priya Kamath Harvard Law School
Kripa Dongol University of Colorado Boulder
Suman Barua Harvard Graduate School of Education
Ankita Gulati Columbia Law School
Shaunna Rodrigues MESAAS, Columbia University
Stuti Gupta The University of Iowa
Aditi Sharma Boston University
asmita aasaavari Department of Sociology, University of Connecticut
Miguel Casillas Harvard Law School
Siddhant Shandilya Columbia University
Maura Hallisey University of Pennsylvania Law School
Mallika Saharia Harvard Business School
Jayanti Bhatia Harvard Graduate School of Education
Mili Sanwalka Brown University
Gilad Abiri Yale Law School/NYU Law
Jaylia Yan Harvard Law and Kennedy School
Smriti Iyer Harvard Kennedy School
Kshitij Chaudhary Harvard Business School
Preeti Pratishruti Dash Harvard Law School
Nikhil Chacko University of California, Berkeley
Zamzam Mohammed Harvard Law School
Hima Bindu Bhardwaj Columbia University in the city of New York
Srivastav Ranganathan Harvard University
Pritika Gupta Columbia Business School
Zeeshan Ahmad Carnegie Mellon University
Ankur Mallick Carnegie Mellon University
Nuwan Dias Harvard Law School
Divya Chandramouli Harvard University
Shreya Jain Harvard Law school
Viraj Sawant University of California, Los Angeles
Isha sengupta University of Pennsylvania
Muhammed Tahir Patel Purdue University
Pankti Harvard Law School
Tejas Srinivasan Carnegie Mellon University
Adi Raghunathan Harvard Business School
Siddhant Talwar Tufts University
Vasudha Sharma Harvard Law School
Sumedh Kiran Deshpande Yale School of Management
Hemanth Bharatha Chakravarthy Harvard College
Neeraja Balakrishnan Harvard Law School
Keerthana Medarametla Harvard Law School
Pranav Mittal Harvard Law School
Sneha Shenoi Harvard Law School
Pankti Harvard Law school
Rahul Bhatnagar University of Pennsylvania
Aviroop Sengupta Columbia University
Senjuti Mallick Tufts University
Chitra Ram Indiana University Law
Karan Tyagi Harvard University
Antara Chakrabarti Columbia University
Charles Hobbs Harvard Law School
Shantanu Nevrekar Stanford University
Shravya Mallavarapu Harvard University
Soujanya Ganig Harvard University Graduate School of Education
Kumar Raja HBS
Sanchari Sen Purdue University
Manvi Aggarwal University of Pennsylvania
Shefali Agarwal The New School
Syed Saad Ahmed University of Pennsylvania
Sayan Pramanik The Wharton School
Ishaa Baig Harvard Business school
Shompa Choudhury Wharton
Stephen Ipe Varghese The Wharton School (U. Penn)
Gyan Saldanha St XAviers college
Varsha Bhattacharya Harvard Law School