A few days back a group of people, armed and masked, entered the JNU campus in the evening, vandalized the university, and mercilessly beat up students and even teachers. It is shocking to note that the JNU administration not only failed to prevent this assault but took a deplorable stand by indirectly placing the onus of the violence on the students who are protesting against massive fee hike. A few days back the police entered Jamia Milia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University campuses
and pounced upon the democratically protesting students causing injury to several hundreds of students.
During the past few days we witnessed a systematic attempt to forcefully suppress the democratic movements initiated by the students in various campuses across the country. The right to dissent is the lifeblood of democracy. We are now witnessing a planned attempt to curb this democratic right. The people in general and the academic community in particular should stand united to protect this right. It is absolutely essential to maintain, at all costs, a free democratic space for debates and dissents, without which education, research, science, and scientific temper cannot
flourish in a society.
Students have an active role to play in the progress of the society. We shall not allow their voice to be suppressed by force. Students were always in the forefront of social movements that brought radical changes in the society. Responding to the call of Gandhiji they played an active role in civil
disobedience movement during our freedom struggle. Students played decisive roles in many progressive movements across the world like the anti-apartheid movement in Africa, the French uprising of the 1960s and the Arab spring uprisings that saw the end of autocratic rule in Egypt and
other countries. The global climate strike of this year, a movement to protect our Earth, was spearheaded by an organization of students called ‘Fridays for Future’ initiated by a school student, Greta Thunberg.
We appeal to all and in particular the academic and scientific community to stand by the students and teachers of JNU and to join the nationwide movement to protect our democratic rights. We demand stern action against the culprits responsible for the barbaric attack on students and teachers of JNU. Finally, we demand that the government should ensure a real democratic atmosphere in all academic institutions.
Dhrubajyoti Mukhopadhyay (President) & Soumitro Banerjee