IMPHAL, February 21: In all 138 signatories, a majority of whom are JNU alumni, signed a statement of condemnation at the manner the present government at the Centre has been targeting Jawaharlal Nehru University, “where students are being hunted down for debating on an issue which is also close to the heart of Manipur” a release said.
It said there is critical need for deepening dialogue on the very idea of India so that many nations and nationalities have space for their expressions rather than stifling them within a very narrow definition of India. There are very few institutions in India where such a debate can take place, and a healthy debate will allow India to be critical of itself ensuring a more vibrant multicultural and multi-national India.
“We strongly believe that universities must be non-militarized spaces where students and teachers are able to freely engage on topics such as the one that took place in JNU. They must not be suppressed ideologically and militarily in the name of national security. Back here, there is military occupation in the heart of Manipur University. Yes, in the name of security. And it is time the military completely withdraws away from the sites of learning and knowledge” the statement further said.
“We denounce the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, President of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union on unfounded charges of sedition and he must be released immediately. The University Authorities must take steps to ensure that the witch hunt that is ensuing against other students must also cease immediately. We demand that there be no more arrests of students” the release added.
The joint statement further demanded an unconditional withdrawal of police personnel from campus and reiterated their support and solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of JNU.
It also called for justice to prevail.