We reproduce a request for solidarity of Jawaharlal Nehru University student’s and teachers, currently on struggle, where there has been police repression and the arrest of eight students. We solidarize with the JNU students and teachers’s struggle! Immediate freedom to the arrested students! No to Modi’s repression! Stop persecution to strugglers!
Since the right-wing pro-capitalist Modi government came to power last year, it has been gunning for the poor and the workers in the cities and in the countryside, and has been spectacularly hostile to any educated groups that might defend these. As part of this strategy it has launched a concerted attack on India’s educational establishments. No institution has been safe from their interference. Under its patronage, aggressively reactionary Hinduist organizations like the RSS have flowered and launched an all out cultural offensive against the forces of democracy and secularism in India. It comes as no surprise that among their first targets, they have attacked the intelligentsia and educational institutions.
Earlier this year the students of FTII started their protest against the arbitrary appointment of an under-qualified Chancellor, Gajendra Chauhan. This protest against an obvious government stooge in higher education is still going on, with neither side backing down. Despite every effort being made to intimidate the students by a hostile government, the students have held their ground.
Now it is Jawaharlal Nehru University that is being targeted. At the heart of the issue is an event organized by JNUSU (JNU students union) to mark the anniversary of Afzal guru’s execution. The University administration responded by making a disciplinary enquiry claiming the event was organized without its permission. At the same time, the right wing pro-Modi Hinduist ABVP student’s union hosted a counter event demanding expulsion of the students who organized the event on Afzal Guru’s execution.
The event organized by the JNUSU was conducted peacefully without any incitement to violence. Despite this, the police intervened and arrested several of the students on charges of sedition, in other words, treason! In the course of the event, efforts were made by far right organizations and sympathizers to vilify the organizers of the event and attack and beat up the protesters. Malicious online propaganda was churned out that anti-India slogans were raised by the JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar. What was worse, was that the mainstream private news media joined in and propagated against the agitating students.
The role of Prime Time news channels such as Times Now and News X in this has been despicable, among other things they have broadcast fake videos as “incriminating proof” that the students were raising seditious slogans. The hostile atmosphere created by this hateful propaganda has put immense pressure on the students, but has also galvanized the students across universities in India in solidarity with the JNU students.
Yet another victim of this attack has been Umar Khalid who has been given the damning charge of being an islamist. This despite the fact that he has openly come out as a communist and is an agnostic with no religious beliefs. He has been an easy target given his Muslim background to be painted as an Islamist sympathizer. All in all, 8 students have been charged with sedition in this way and are being tried in court.
The police, media establishment and the government are all pitted against the students. They along with the reactionary organizations and their sympathizers are waging a concerted war against the students. This fight is in essence a fight for the freedom of speech and campus democracy which this government wants to destroy. For this, we, New Wave (Bolshevik Leninist) of India appeal to students unions internationally to extend their support to the struggling students of JNU today. Solidarity is the need of the hour.
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