#StandWithJNU: Solidarity Statement by Academics in the UK

This is a statement by over three hundred and fifty academics based in the UK.

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the students, faculty, and staff of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). We condemn the BJP government-sanctioned police action in the JNU campus and the illegal detention of the JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar. We strongly condemn the manner in which political dissent is being stifled, reducing academic spaces to fortresses. We also condemn the widespread witch-hunt of left-wing students and student groups that this police action has unleashed.

These recent acts are representative of the larger trend that we have been observing – the imposition of an authoritarian and regressive agenda in institutions of higher learning from Films and Television Institute [FTII], Hyderabad Central University [HCU] to Jawaharlal Nehru University [JNU]. From the institutional murder of HCU student, Rohith Vemula, and the suppression of student protests at FTII to the illegal detention of the student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar and pervasive police presence at JNU, there has been a constant non- observance and disregard of administrative and legal norms as well as a gross infringement of the democratic rights of the student community. These actions are embedded in a deeply chauvinistic cultural nationalism, which espouses a casteist and Brahmanical, homophobic, and patriarchal worldview.

We strongly believe that student politics is being targeted currently by giving a new lease of life to a sedition law that was a draconian tool in the hands of the colonial state and has no place in a democracy. It is our democratic right to dissent, disagree, organise and struggle against state, institutions or policies that transgress and suppress democratic and egalitarian values. Expression of dissent cannot and should not be equated with being ‘anti-national’ (or any other such constructed category) and is definitely not punishable under law especially if it is non-violent.

Disguising targeted assault on oppositional student groups/political movements within the narrative binaries of nationalism/anti nationalism only reflects how vulnerable the BJP government feels in its own ability to provide accountable governance.

We also believe that institutions of higher learning should be publicly funded spaces for political engagement, debates, and critical discussions – a legacy campuses (be it JNU, DU, or FTII) have embodied. As they always have, university spaces should subsidise costs of education for students, irrespective of the political disposition of the students. A rather disturbing feature of the narratives around this issue has been the construction and furthering of an artificial dichotomy between academics and politics that suggests that being ‘political’ is an aberration. This would certainly appear to be the case, if seen through the neoliberal lens of perceiving education as an industry that produces ‘semester bred’ automated ‘disciplined’ individuals who are mere consumers.

However, as the nonviolent expressions of dissent by students in JNU clearly demonstrate, contrary to this neo liberal view of academia,we believe that ‘personal is political’ and there is no sphere that is devoid of politics.We believe that good academic work necessarily involves a critical engagement with society and its power inequities and in that sense is always politically engaged. This engagement thrives in the democratic space of the university where many dissenting views can be heard and debated. The vilification of JNU as a space of ‘anti-national’ politics is being carried out by ABVP and BJP in order to attack and break this democratic spirit of academic and political life in Indian universities.

As teachers, students, scholars, and academics from the UK, who are keenly observing the developments unfolding in JNU, we express our solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of JNU as they non-violently resist this infringement on their rights. We urge the Vice Chancellor of JNU to uphold the institutional autonomy and the democratic rights of the student community. We also urge the government of India to stop encroaching on our rights as citizens, students, activists, political and politicised subjects.

  1. Akanksha Mehta, SOAS, University of London
  2. Priyanka Basu, SOAS, London
  3. Neha Vermani (JNU, 2013), Royal Holloway college, University of London
  4. Partha Pratim Shil, PhD student, Trinity College, University of Cambridge
  5. Niyati Sharma, University of Oxford
  6. Benarji Chakka, Chevening Scholar, SOAS, UoL
  7. Javed Wani, Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London
  8. Chacko, University of London.
  9. Jay Lingham, SOAS, University of London
  10. Anjali B Datta, University of Cambridge
  11. Shinjini Das, University of Cambridge
  12. Jaice Sara Titus, Brunel University London
  13. William Rees, SOAS, (2015)
  14. Alex Wolfers PhD Researcher at Cambridge University
  15. Aditya Balasubramanian, University of Cambridge
  16. Mayur Suresh,
  17. Lipika Kamra, University of Oxford
  18. Sneha Krishnan, University of Oxford
  19. Prashant Kidambi, University of Leicester
  20. James Eastwoos (SOAS, University of London)
  21. Rohan Deb Roy, Lecturer in South Asian History, University of Reading
  22. Prerna Bhardwaj, King’s College London
  23. Tristan Burke (University of Manchester)
  24. Surabhi Ranganathan, University of Cambridge
  25. Sanya Samtani, University of Oxford
  26. Baisali Mohanty, Post-graduate candidate, contemporary south asian studies, University of Oxford
  27. Prithvi Hirani, Aberystwyth University
  28. Dr Lorenza Monaco, SOAS, University of London
  29. Suman Ghosh, Bath Spa University
  30. Nayanika Mathur, University of Cambridge
  31. Marie-France Courriol,UniversityofCambridge
  32. Jayesha Koushik, University of Oxford
  33. Aditya Ramesh, SOAS
  34. Umika Pidaparthy, University of Oxford
  35. Sruthi Muraleedharan, SOAS, University of London
  36. JD Brown, SOAS, London
  37. Sudarshana Srinivasan, King’s College London
  38. Wiktor Ostasz (University of Oxford)
  39. T Khaitan, University of Oxford
  40. Erica Wald, Goldsmiths, University of London
  41. Deepa Kurup, Oxford University
  42. Sanjoy Bhattacharya, University of York, UK
  43. Thomas Marois, SOAS, University of London
  44. Saba Hussain, University of Warwick
  45. FeyziIsmail,SOAS
  46. Joe Buckley, PhD candidate, SOAS, University of London
  47. Sandipto Dasgupta, Newton International Fellow of the Royal Society and the British Academy
  48. Annabelle Sreberny, Emeritus Professor, SOAS, University of London
  49. Sahil Warsi, University of Leeds
  50. Subir Sinha, Department of Development Studies, SOAS
  51. Sabiha Allouche, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London
  52. Abhay Regulagedda – MIPLC
  53. Jaimie Johansson, University of East Anglia
  54. Shabnum Tejani, Senior Lecturer in Modern South Asian History, Department of History, SOAS, University of London
  55. Dr Kerem Nisancioglu, SOAS University of London
  56. Alfredo Saad Filho, SOAS University of London
  57. Arijeet Pal, University of Oxford
  58. Elisabeth Leake, Royal Holloway, University of London
  59. Musab Younis, Oxford University and SOAS
  60. Smitana Saikia King’s College London
  61. Dr Rahul S Gandhi BSc (Neuroscience) MBCHB, Member – Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  62. Sara Stevano, SOAS University of London
  63. Rachel Harrison, SOAS
  64. Jonathan Daniel Luther (SOAS)
  65. Abeera Khan, MA Gender Studies, SOAS
  66. Alexandra Tzirkoti, King’s College London
  67. Aditya Sarkar, Warwick University
  68. Teja Varma Pusapati, Phil Student in English, University of Oxford
  69. Secki Jose, PhD candidate, University of Leicester
  70. Shreya Sinha, SOAS, University of London
  71. Ashok Kumar, Queen Mary University of London
  72. Steven Martin, University of Cambridge
  73. Dr Helen Elsey, University of Leeds
  74. Dr Mandy Turner, Middle East Centre, LSE
  75. Zarah Sultana, NUS Black Students’ Campaign
  76. Nicholas Simcik Arese, University of Oxford
  77. DrAravindaGuntupalli,SeniorLecturerinPublicHealth,TheOpenUniversity,
  78. Milton Keynes, UK
  79. Lisa Tilley, University of Warwick
  80. Uttara Shahani, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge
  81. Nadje Al-Ali SOAS
  82. Saumya Saxena, University of Cambridge
  83. Diya Gupta, Department of English, King’s College London
  84. John Wood Aberystwyth University
  85. Dimitra Kotouza, University of Kent
  86. Nilanjana Sen Graduate Student King’s College London
  87. Gerhard Kling, SOAS University of London
  88. Akhila Yechury, University of Andrews
  89. Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, SOAS, University of London
  90. Rudra Sen (SOAS)
  91. Cam Stocks, Medical Student, Barts and The London School of Medicine
  92. Manjeet Ramgotra, SOAS University of London
  93. Juanita Elias, University of Warwick
  94. Sarah Gandee, University of Leeds
  95. Roy, SOAS
  96. Dr Richard Williams, University of Oxford
  97. Tom Cowan, King’s College London
  98. Layli Uddin, Royal Holloway
  99. Dr Sarah Hodges, History, University of Warwick
  100. Emma Hart, University of St Andrews
  101. Meenakshi Sinha, King’s India Institute, King’s College London
  102. Antonio Ferraz de Oliveira – University of Warwick
  103. Eve Tignol (Royal Holloway University of London)
  104. Ashwitha Jayakumar, MA student, University of Leeds
  105. Alastair McClure, PhD Student at the University of Cambridge
  106. Amir Khan – University of Cambridge
  107. Javier Moreno Zacarés, Warwick University
  108. Professor Stephen Hopgood, SOAS University of London
  109. Jordan Osserman, UCL
  110. Josh Holroyd, Socialist Appeal
  111. Ina Goel, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University College London
  112. Julian Benda, SOAS
  113. Ola Innset, European University Institute
  114. Nicole Beardsworth, University of Warwick
  115. Fatima Rajina, SOAS
  116. Karthikeyan Damodaran, University of Edinburgh
  117. Vanya V Bhargav, University of Oxford
  118. Meghna Nag Chowdhuri, University of Cambridge
  119. Ranjita Neogi, University of Reading
  120. Aparna John, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
  121. Omar Raii, UCL
  122. Ashna Sarkar – UCL
  123. Garikoitz Gómez Alfaro, University of Brighton
  124. Tom Cunliffe, KCL
  125. Mihika Chatterjee, University of Oxford
  126. Kavita Maya (SOAS, University of London)
  127. Niharika Pandit, master’s candidate, SOAS
  128. Jonathan Saha, University of Leeds
  129. Farooq Graduate Teaching Asst. SOAS, London
  130. Shreya Agrawal, Student at UCL
  131. Malia Bouattia, NUS Black Students’ Officer (UK)
  132. Amogha Varsha (University of Oxford, UK)
  133. Amelia Bonea, University of Oxford
  134. Avinash Paliwal, King’s College London
  135. Amrita Shodhan, SOAS, University of London
  136. Jacob Bard-Rosenberg, Birkbeck College, University of London
  137. Laurence Gautier, University of Cambridge
  138. Smriti Sawkar, University of Oxford
  139. Arianna Tassinari (University of Warwick)
  140. Anindya Raychaudhuri, University of St Andrews
  141. Onaiza Drabu, University of Oxford
  142. Mipsie Marshall University of Sussex
  143. Amit Kumar, DPhil Chemistry, University of Oxford
  144. Ishan Mukherjee, University of Cambridge
  145. Urmimala Maitra, University of Oxford
  146. Sahil Nijhawan (Student, University College London)
  147. James Lecturer in Islamicate South Asia, SOAS, University of London
  148. Anirudh Mathur, Student, Inner Temple
  149. Maia Barkaia, (JNU, 2010),Research Fellow, LMH, Oxford University
  150. Sheiry Dhillon, DPhil OB/GYN (C) MD (C)
  151. Jacob George Pallath, GDL student at University of Westminster
  152. Sadie Coventry University
  153. Dr Nicholas Cimini, Lecturer and EIS-ULA Exec member at Edinburgh Napier University
  154. Leandro Vergara-Camus, SOAS, University of London
  155. Chandak Sengoopta, Professor of History, Birkbeck College, University of London
  156. Ozan Kamiloglu, Associate Lecturer, University of London, Birkbeck
  157. Selbi Jumayeva, Visiting Research Fellow, IGS at LMH University of Oxford
  158. Somak Biswas, University of Warwick
  159. Divya David, University of Oxford
  160. Mihika Chatterjee, University of Oxford
  161. Mishka Sinha, University of Cambridge, UK
  162. Emile Chabal, University of Edinburgh
  163. Radhika Govinda, University of Edinburgh
  164. Varun Ramesh – University of Oxford
  165. Nat Raha, University of Sussex
  166. David Dahlborn, UCL
  167. Lesley Hoggart, The Open University, UK
  168. Chinmay Sharma SOAS
  169. Sahil Kureshi, University of Oxford
  170. Leshu Torchin, University of St Andrews
  171. Ameya Kelkar-SOAS, London
  172. Ankita Pandey, Phil candidate, University of Oxford
  173. Sinthujan Varatharajah, UCL Geography
  174. Maanasa SOAS
  175. Dr Ghazala Mir, University of Leeds
  176. Deepa Kurup, University of Oxford
  177. Secki P Jose, University of Leicester
  178. Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick
  179. Sneha Menon, University of Oxford
  180. Yasser Shams Khan, University of Oxford
  181. Harry Stopes, University College London
  182. Nithya Natarajan, SOAS
  183. Dr Marika Rose, Durham University
  184. Mansi Sood, Student, University of Oxford, 2015-16
  185. Mukulika Banerjee, Director of LSE South Asia Centre and Associate Professor of Anthropology, LSE
  186. Fatima Shahzad, Postgraduate Student, SOAS, University of London
  187. Rodrigo Torres, UCL
  188. Kanika Sharma, Birkbeck, University of London
  189. Paavani Singh – King’s College London
  190. Mallika Leuzinger, University College London
  191. Kashish Madan, A. English Literary Studies, Durham University
  192. Grace Egan, University of Glasgow
  193. Joseph McQuade, University of Cambridge
  194. Amrita Lamba, SOAS
  195. Sarah Kunz – PhD student, UCL
  196. Shamim Zakaria, University of Sussex
  197. Rubina Jasani, University of Manchester
  198. Moiz Tundawala, PhD candidate, London School of Economics and Political
  199. Aditya Ray, Queen Mary University of London
  200. Rahul Rao, SOAS, University of London
  201. Dr Lee Jones, Queen Mary University of London
  202. Manish Kushwaha, University of Warwick
  203. Kalpana Wilson, London School of Economics and Political Science
  204. Daniela Lainez del Pozo – University College London
  205. Praveen Priyadarshi, PhD Candidate, London School of Economics
  206. Anju Christine, King’s College London
  207. Amogha Varsha (University of Oxford)
  208. Ashutosh Kumar, University of Leeds, UK
  209. neha kagal, Doctoral Scholar, SOAS
  210. Dr Hannah Boast, University of York
  211. Phiroze Vasunia, University College London
  212. Saawani Raje, King’s College London
  213. Sanghita Sen, University of Andrews. Scotland
  214. Dr Rohit K Dasgupta (WSA), University of Southampton
  215. Utsa Mukherjee, Royal Holloway
  216. Senjuti Chakraborti, Birkbeck College, University of London
  217. Aakshi Magazine, University Of St Andrews
  218. Souraj Dutta, Research student, University of St Andrews, Scotland
  219. Megan Robb, University of Oxford
  220. Andrew Kinnell, President of Stirling Students Union
  221. Grant Buttars, University of Edinburgh
  222. Johannes Makar, student at SOAS and KU Leuven
  223. Dr Anandi Ramamurthy, Sheffield Hallam University
  224. Anish Vanaik, Purdue University (Oxford, 2013)
  225. Akshyeta Suryanarayan, University of Cambridge
  226. Eleanor Newbigin, SOAS, University of London
  227. Rubina Jasani, University of Manchester
  228. Siddharth Chawla, Cambridge University
  229. Dimble Mathew University of Bradford
  230. Kshiti Gala, SOAS, University of London
  231. Bjorn Berntson, University College London
  232. Sreenanti Banerjee, Birkbeck, University of London
  233. Pori Saikia University of Essex
  234. James Harland (Department of History, University of York)
  235. Kanwar Nain Singh, University of Cambridge
  236. Ayça Çubukçu, Assistant Professor in Human Rights, London School of Economics and Political Science
  237. Dr Satoshi Miyamura, SOAS, University of London
  238. Kyle Jordan (UCL)
  239. Gautam Bondada, Phil student, University of Oxford
  240. Tom Robinson, UCLU Welfare & International Officer
  241. Ettore Morelli, School of Oriental and African Studies
  242. Dr Jayasree Kalathil, Survivor Research, UK
  243. Tvisha Nevatia, LSE
  244. Karin Sjöstedt, SOAS
  245. Joya Chatterji, University of Cambridge
  246. Dr Peter Dwyer, Ruskin College, Oxford
  247. Dr Chris Rossdale, University of Warwick
  248. Rama Dieng, SOAS
  249. Anish Augustine, Queen Mary, University of London
  250. Sofa Gradin, Queen Mary University of London
  251. Nandini Maharaj, Sheffield Hallam University
  252. Shivangi Pareek, University of Cambridge
  253. Shubranshu Mishra, University of Kent
  254. Ritanjan Das, University of Portsmouth
  255. Ananya Rao-Middleton, University of Cambridge
  256. Ganga Shreedhar, London School of Economics
  257. Swapna Kona Nayudu, LSE
  258. Elizabeth Frazer, Head of Department, Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford
  259. Dr William McEvoy, University of Sussex, UK
  260. William Gould, University of Leeds
  261. Marta Garcia Aliaga (SOAS, University of London, and NALSAR)
  262. Ayse Zarakol, University of Cambridge
  263. Prof Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Warwick
  264. Lisa Skwirblies, D. Candidate (University of Warwick)
  265. Louiza Odysseos, University of Sussex
  266. Alex Anievas, University of Cambridge
  267. Dr Meera Sabaratnam, SOAS
  268. Kirsten Forkert, School of Media, Birmingham City University
  269. Eda Ulus, University of Leicester
  270. Premalatha Balan, University of Nottingham and University College, London
  271. Adelie Chevee, SOAS, University of London
  272. Manishita Dass, Royal Holloway (University of London)
  273. Rosalind Galt, King’s College London
  274. Priyasha Mukhopadhyay, Oxford
  275. Rod Earle, Dept of Health & Social Care, The Open University
  276. Caoimhe Mader McGuinness, Queen Mary University of London
  277. Julie Dayot University of Oxford
  278. Sai Englert, PhD candidate, SOAS, University of London
  279. Sonali Campion, London School of Economics
  280. Dr Cathy Bergin, University of Brighton
  281. Aditya, University of Oxford
  282. Akshi Singh, Queen Mary, University of London
  283. Karan Katoch, University of Oxford
  284. Raghav Kishore, University of Huddersfield
  285. Dr Tanvi Pate, PAIS, University of Warwick
  286. Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak, University of Salford, UK
  287. Konrad M Lawson (Lecturer St Andrews)
  288. Professor Emilia Jamroziak, University of Leeds
  289. Anwesha Sengupta, University of Oxford
  290. Andy Rixon The Open University UK
  291. Natalie James, UCLU
  292. Mirna Guha, PhD School of International Development, University of East Anglia
  293. Sita Balani King’s College London
  294. Steffan Blayney, Birkbeck, University of London
  295. Mehroosh Tak, SOAS
  296. Tanya Singh, University of Wolverhampton
  297. Kathryn Maude, Swansea University
  298. Hilary Aked, University of Bath
  299. S.V.P. Capildeo, Affiliate, St. John’s College, University of Cambridge
  300. Katy Sian, University of York
  301. S Lidher (Cambridge)
  302. Paul Kirby, University of Sussex
  303. Gayathri Sekhar, King’s College London
  304. Marijn Nieuwenhuis, Politics and Int. Studies, University of Warwick
  305. Lorena Lombardozzi (SOAS)
  306. Alen Toplisek, Queen Mary University of London
  307. Owen Clayton, University of Lincoln, UK
  308. Dr Terese Jonsson, University of Portsmuth
  309. Alexandra Sporidou Nottingham Trend University
  310. Professor Azrini Wahidin, Nottingham Trent University
  311. Janhavi Mittal, King’s College London
  312. Špela Drnovšek Zorko, SOAS, London
  313. Aapurv Jain, SOAS, University of London
  314. Noelle Richardson
  315. Vicki Baars
  316. Abhilasha Joshi, DPhil Neuroscience
  317. Fuad Ali, OtherAsias
  318. Miqdad
  319. Zara Kayani
  320. Jack Bardsley
  321. Joel White
  322. Pallavi Roy
  323. Vinayak Raj Gathoria
  324. Suchitra Sebastian
  325. Shariq
  326. Debanjali Biswas
  327. Umer Malik
  328. sabahat ijaz
  329. Sharon Mallon
  330. Arushi Menon
  331. Kaushik Banerjee
  332. Saumya Singh
  333. Sophie Mayer (independent scholar)
  334. Zara Qadeer
  335. Darshana Gurung
  336. Sahiba student masters
  337. Nihad Ahmed
  338. Nasir Arafat
  339. Shreya Chatterjee
  340. Edyth Parker
  341. Sinjini Chatterjee, student
  342. Daniel Ong
  343. Sunny Singh
  344. Ritika Bose
  345. Sanaz Raji, Independent Research & Campaigner
  346. Sameen Ali
  347. Shruti Sekhar Ravindran
  348. Shamira Meghani — scholar and teacher
  349. Leon Sealey-Huggins
  350. Neeharika Shetty
  351. Abhishikta Mallick
  352. Lakshmy Venkatesh
  353. Owen Clayton, University of Lincoln, UK
  354. Dr Terese Jonsson, University of Portsmuth
  355. Alexandra Sporidou Nottingham Trend University
  356. Professor Azrini Wahidin, Nottingham Trent University
  357. Janhavi Mittal, King’s College London
  358. Špela Drnovšek Zorko, SOAS
  359. Aapurv Jain, SOAS, University of London
  360. Laura Schwartz, University of Warwick
  361. Deepa Kurup, University of Oxford
  362. Gopal Balakrishnan
  363. Arwa Awan, Visiting Undergrad, University of Oxford
  364. Matthew Cole, University of Leeds
  365. Nikita S.
  366. Mohamed Hussain



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