Category Archives: Solidarity Links

End the regime of state terror in Kashmir

Press Release Kashmir Concerned Citizens’ Collective
Srinagar, 16 December 2016

SRINAGAR, December 16: The Concerned Citizens’ Collective team that visited Kashmir from 12 to 16 December 2016, expressed deep dismay to observe that the people of the Kashmir valley have been entirely abandoned by their central and state governments, in this time of their great suffering. The only face of government that the people of the Valley encounter is of a repressive security establishment, they declared.
There is no proportionality of state response as stone pelting is met by bullets and pellet guns. The high proportion of injuries on the face and above the waist demonstrate that there was official intention to shower hundreds of pellets on the agitated population, not to disperse but to kill or permanently disable.
This attitude of governments, both state and central, the members maintained, is even more regrettable because the large majority of the victims of the bullets and pellet guns are children, many of them so young that they could not have been part of any agitation. Even for those boys who were pelting stones, the response of a democratic state cannot be to disable them for life, or to kill them.
There is also no display of public compassion by the state government, which has failed to reach out to the children who are blinded and disabled, and their suffering families, many of whom are too frightened to seek medical treatment for fear of being criminalised. At the same time, the Committee greatly appreciated the doctors and public medical community, including in psychiatry and ophthalmology, who extended extraordinarily compassionate, even heroic, service and care to the victims of pellet and gun injuries.
The Committee was distressed to learn that many children are presently incarcerated in adult prisons. Others are detained in juvenile homes but without the protections of a comprehensive juvenile justice system which has not been established in J&K. Equally distressing is the finding that both children and adults are being detained under the draconian anti-democratic Public Security Act.
The Concerned Citizens’ Collective team, comprising Tapan Bose, Harsh Mander, Pamela Philipose, Dinesh Mohan and Navsharan Kaur met a wide range of the Kashmiri population over their four-day stay in Kashmir. They interacted with over 150 persons, ranging from children disabled by pellets and bullets and their caregivers, youth, women, older people, working people, farmers, doctors, human rights and civil society activists, journalists, traders, business leaders, writers, and villagers in Kulgam, Pulwama and Anantnag.   This wide swathe of public opinion was nearly unanimous in expressing their anguish and alienation from the state. It was clear to the Committee this was no longer a movement of militants supported by Pakistan as is portrayed in the national media, but a broad-based movement of almost all sections of Kashmiri society.
A number of people who met the team members asked that if the Kashmiri people were indeed equal citizens of India, then why does the government and its security establishment use forms and levels of state violence in the Kashmir valley that they do not deploy in other parts of the country? Even more violent agitations in recent months, such as the Patel and Jat agitations and the protests against the sharing of Cauvery river waters have not been met with such lethal state response as in Kashmir. The Committee said it was opposed to the use of such force against the country’s people anywhere, and that it was deeply dismayed that this highly excessive use of force against Kashmiris reflects an attempt to crush their spirit and treat them as an enemy population. A large majority of people who met them also deplored the role of significant sections of the national media for purveying false and partisan information about the Kashmiri situation over the past months, contributing further to their sense of alienation.
The Concerned Citizens’ Committee expressed deep anguish at the suffering of those who they described as ‘our Kashmiri children, sisters and brothers at the hand of governments that are majoritarian, repressive and merciless’. The members observed that there is a sense of fear among minorities, liberals and the poor in other parts of India as well because of the same approach of the central government to its working people and to dissent.
They therefore stand in solidarity with all these people, and demand that pellet guns are banned forthwith. The Committee also demands that the leadership of both the central and state governments publicly express regret for their use on children and civilians; that peaceful dissent and stone pelting is met in future with democratic, proportionate and restrained response by the police and security personnel; that security personnel responsible for these excesses and violence are punished; that the state administration releases forthwith all children and youth and political prisoners; that it reaches out humanely with all support for treatment, rehabilitation, education and livelihoods of persons disabled because of bullets and pellets and their caregivers; and that a peaceful, just and humane atmosphere is created in the state to initiate political engagement and meaningful dialogue to address the widely held grievances of the people.

NOVEMBER 5, 2016

We, the undersigned, are dismayed over the ongoing crisis in Kashmir. We have watched in horror and shock the repetitive cycle of state aggression leading to violence, deteriorating state of civil liberties, violation of fundamental rights and ever escalating loss of human life and dignity in Kashmir. In the last 115 days, we have lost over 100 lives in Kashmir. More than 15,000 civilians have been injured, out of which 4500 persons have suffered grievous injuries due to pellet-guns, 4664 have been injured by bullets. Over 8000 people have been arrested out of which 434 people have been detained under the Public Safety Act (toll as on October 30, 2016).

The immediate response of the Indian state to the recent uprising in Kashmir was the imposition of curfew, which is continuing till date. A media gag where newspaper offices have been raided, copies confiscated and editors threatened with dire consequences, accompanied it. Journalists reporting the situation have been attacked, intimidated and threatened with violence by those supposedly responsible for protecting them. Most recently the government banned the publication of Kashmir Reader, a daily newspaper published from Srinagar.

Pursuant to this, a complete communication blockade was imposed and Internet services were cut down. Even voices outside Kashmir that spoke of the ongoing failure of state were targeted on social media, their posts deleted and accounts blocked. The means of communication and information flow from and into Kashmir are severely disrupted. Accompanying the communication blockade is an economic blockade in which the supply of food, medicines and other basic necessities are also affected, standing crops being burnt and orchards damaged.

It is unconscionable on the part of the Indian state to exacerbate the situation by choking the lifeline of people in Kashmir. There are reports of vandalism and violence during raids by the police and security forces. As the pillars of a modern democracy are wrecked with the media gag, the abuse of the impunity accorded to the law enforcement agencies is bound to escalate. There have been instances of harassment, abuse and baseless arrests of Kashmiris working and studying, not only in Kashmir but also in different parts of India, for having voiced their political views.

A blockade on the channels of non-violent protest by the arrests of human rights defenders, legal activists and even volunteers supplying aid in hospitals on baseless grounds has aided the creation of spaces for violent protests. The wanton use of force along with the lack of accountability has contributed immensely to the crisis prevailing in Kashmir.

Intense militarization of the valley has left deep scars on the social, economic and psychological well being of every life in Kashmir. Laws such as Public Safety Act (PSA), Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) etc., are draconian and are not conducive to contributing to a solution. Irrespective of what the situation is, whether we agree with what the Kashmiris are demanding or not, there is no law in India which allows the Indian armed forces to use their position to ransack people’s houses, decimate their food grains, crops and livestock.

It is disturbing to witness the Indian media pumping up jingoistic fervor in the minds of people in India. The propagation and glorification of state aggression and war mongering by the government, media and almost every political party has led to a lethal form of pro-state fanaticism. The success of the state machinery in realizing this propaganda also highlights the failure of the Indian civil society.

We therefore call on all readers and human rights organisations to unequivocally condemn the siege of Kashmir.

The situation in India is increasingly becoming claustrophobic, making it difficult to have any political discussion on Kashmir. Voicing any opinion divergent from the popular ‘pro-state’ narrative is now a cause for slapping charges of sedition. In such an environment even a peaceful non-violent discussion to understand the nature of problems that Kashmir faces becomes impossible. Without such understanding any solution proposed would only be a repetition of the cycles seen over the last 70 years, which have not led to any tangible solutions. We urge the government to allow an open discussion so as to facilitate the understanding of the legitimate demands and concerns that the people of Kashmir have been raising over the course of last 70 years.

We believe that national integrity at the cost of life and dignity of our own citizens would not amount to integration but colonialism. The political crisis in Kashmir cannot be resolved by being oblivious to the problem at the heart of the conflict, which is the demand for freedom. Any attempt to resolve the issue is bound to fail unless the state accepts the Kashmir conflict as a ‘political issue’ and not merely one pertaining to territory. The government must acknowledge Kashmiris as primary stakeholders in the dispute and consult them rather than considering it as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.

Whatever the stand of the Government of India on the demand of Kashmiri people for independence, it is imperative to create an environment of understanding and openness and initiate a purposeful and sincere dialogue with all the stakeholders for an amicable settlement.

We therefore urge the government to:

  1. Immediately lift the curfew and stop violence against civilians in Kashmir.
  1. Open channels for political dialogue in consultation with all stakeholders and explore every possible solution including – complete autonomy or pre-1953 position and even plebiscite.
  1. Stop the crackdown on media and lift the ban on Kashmir Reader.
  1. Immediately drop all charges against activists, human rights defenders and civilians booked under the PSA and release them.
  1. Grant unfettered access to United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to investigate allegations of Human Rights violations.
  1. Work forcefully to demilitarize both sides of the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. Further, to demilitarize all of Kashmir and immediately revoke impunity laws such as the AFSPA, PSA, and DAA etc.
  1. Create credible mechanisms for accountability and justice, (such as an international criminal tribunal), for human rights abuses in Kashmir over the past three decades, including extra-judicial killings, torture, sexual and gendered violence, enforced disappearances and unknown and mass graves.

List of Endorsements 


  1. Aabha Muralidharan, Student
  2. Aditya Nigam, CSDS
  3. Ajmal Khan, Radical Study Circle, TISS, Mumbai
  4. Ajayan Adat
  5. Akanksha, activist
  6. Akhila Vasan
  7. Alpana Jain
  8. Amar Jesani, Independent Public health and Bioethics Consultant
  9. Amla Pisharody
  10. Amlendu Upadhyay, senior journalist
  11. Ammu Abraham, member, FAOW(Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  12. Amrita Howlader, member, FAOW(Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  13. Anand Mazgaonkar,
  14. Anand Patwardhan, filmmaker
  15. Anand Teltumbde, General Secretary, CPDR (Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights)
  16. Anannya Bhattacharjee, Garment and Allied Workers Union
  17. Angana Chatterji, Feminist Scholar
  18. Anjali, student
  19. Anjali Singh, student
  20. Anil Sinha
  21. Anindita Mukherjee, Lawyer
  22. Antony Samy, activist, Jagrut Kamgar Manch
  23. Anuradha Banerji, research scholar
  24. Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor, Kashmir Times
  25. Anuradha Kapoor
  26. Aquila Khan, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  27. Archee Roy, student
  28. Aritra Bhattacharya, Journalist, The Statesman
  29. Arundhati Dhuru, National Alliance of People’s Movements
  30. Arun Ferreira, member, CPDR
  31. Arya Raje, Lawyer
  32. Aswathy Senan, Delhi University
  33. Ayesha Kidwai, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  34. Murlidhar Reddy, Senior Journalist
  35. Baljeet Kaur, Radical Study Circle, TISS, Mumbai
  36. Bernard D’Mello
  37. Binayaka Sen, activist (PUCL)
  38. Binu Matthew, Editor,
  39. Chayanika Shah, member, LABIA and FAOW(Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  40. Brinelle D’souza, Academician
  41. Chetan Priyadarshi, Lawyer
  42. Chhaya Datar
  43. Chinu Srinivasan, SAHAJ/LOCOST
  44. Cubbykabi Sherman, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  45. Cynthia Stephen, Founder, DAWNS(Dalit Women’s Network for Solidarity)
  46. Debalina, activist
  47. Deepa Venkatachalam, Social Scientist
  48. Deepti Gopinath, Indian Airports Employees’ Union
  49. Devika Shetty, Disability Rights Advocacy
  50. Dibyesh Anand, Professor, University of Westminster, UK
  51. Divya Kalanthingal, Radical Study Circle, TISS, Mumbai
  52. Divya Trivedi, journalist
  53. Dolphy A. D’souza, Convenor, Police Reforms Watch
  54. Fatima N, Member, Tamil Nadu Women’s Forum
  55. Freny Manecksha, independent journalist
  56. Gautam Bhan, activist and author
  57. Geeta Seshu, independent journalist
  58. Gouranaga Mohapatra, Jan Swasthaya Abhiyan, Odisha
  59. Gouri Patwardhan, filmmaker
  60. Harsh Mander, activist, writer
  61. Hartman de Souza, Writer
  62. Hasina Khan, member, Bebaak Collective and FAOW(Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  63. Heer Ganjawala, filmmaker
  64. Heidi Pereira, student, Ambedkar University
  65. Hussain Indorewala, Teacher
  66. Illina Sen, author and activist
  67. Irfaan Engineer, CSSS(Centre for Study of Society and Secularism)
  68. Jagdish John Menezes, Lawyer
  69. Jairus Banaji, Professor and Historian
  70. Jashodhara Dasgupta, Sahayog, India
  71. Javed Anand, Co-editor, Communalism Combat
  72. Jayashree Velankar, NAMHHR (National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights)
  73. Jenny Sulfath, student, TISS
  74. Jhelum Roy, researcher
  75. Jinda Sandbhor, researcher
  76. Juhi Bansal, Lawyer
  77. Jyoti Punwani, independent journalist
  78. Kalpana Mehta, Activist
  79. Kalyani Menon, feminist researcher and writer
  80. Kamal KM, filmmaker, teacher
  81. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, feminist and human rights activist
  82. Karuna D W, researcher, Chennai
  83. Kavita Krishnan, Secretary AIPWA (All India Progressive Women’s Association)
  84. Kavita Pai
  85. Khateeja Talha, member, Space Theatre Ensemble
  86. Kochurani Abraham, Kerala
  87. Kokila Mitra, research scholar
  88. Koyel Ghosh, school teacher
  89. Koyel Majumder, student
  90. Kranti LC, Lawyer
  91. Kritika Aggarwal, GLC, Mumbai
  92. Kulajit Maisanam, Radical Study Circle, TISS, Mumbai
  93. Labanyendu Das, Lawyer
  94. Lalita Ramdas, peace, human rights and anti-nuclear activist and Founder, Greenpeace, India
  95. Lara Jesani, Lawyer
  96. Lina Mathias
  97. Madhavi Kuckreja, women’s’ rights activist and founder, Vanangana
  98. Madhurima Ghosh, student
  99. Mahtab Alam, Activist, Journalist
  100. Malini Parthasarthy, former Editor, the Hindu
  101. Malobika, activist
  102. Manisha Sethi, Activist, Professor – Jamia Millia Islamia
  103. Manoj Jha, teacher, activist
  104. Mary Antony, activist, Jagrut Kamgar Manch
  105. Mary E John, CWDS
  106. Medha Patkar, activist, Narmada Bachao Andolan
  107. Meena Gopal, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  108. Meena Kandasamy, Poet, Writer, Activist
  109. Meena Saraswathi Seshu, SANGRAM, Sangli
  110. Mihir Desai, Senior Advocate
  111. Milind Champanekar, activist, CPDR
  112. Mirza Saaib Beg, Lawyer
  113. M J Pandey, Journalist
  114. Monica Sakhrani, Lawyer
  115. Monisha Behal
  116. Mubashira Zaidi, Institute of Social Studies Trust, New Delhi
  117. Mukta Srivastava, activist (NAPM)
  118. Murali Karnam, Faculty, School of Law, Rights and Constitutional Governance, TISS
  119. Vasudevan, Convenor, Trade Union Solidarity Committee, Mumbai
  120. Nandini Manjrekar, Professor, TISS
  121. Nimisha
  122. Niranjan Takle, Principal Correspondent, the Week
  123. Nisha Biswas, Kolkata
  124. Nitish Nawsagaray, Dalit Rights activist
  125. Nivedita Menon, JNU
  126. Norma Alvares, Senior Advocate and environmental activist
  127. Omar Rashid, journalist
  128. Pallavi Gupta
  129. Pamela Philipose, journalist, writer and editor
  130. Paramita Banerjee, Activist and Development professional
  131. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta
  132. Paromita Chakravarty
  133. Poushali Basak, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  134. Pranita Kulkarni, Journalist
  135. Preenita Banerjee, Lawyer
  136. Preeti Mehra
  137. Purnima Rao, writer
  138. Srivatsan, Social Scientist
  139. Rachana Johri
  140. Rahul Singh
  141. Rajashree Gandhi
  142. Raj Merchant, member, LABIA
  143. Admiral Ramdas
  144. Ramesh Awasthi, PUCL, Maharashtra
  145. Ram Puniyani, activist, writer, teacher
  146. Ranjani Srinivasan, student
  147. Ranjit Biswas, Psychiatrist and Research-activist
  148. Ratnapriya, student
  149. Ravi Duggal, independent health researcher and activist
  150. Ravi Kadam
  151. Rhea Bose
  152. Richa Minocha, member secretary, Jan Abhiyan Sanstha, Shimla
  153. Ritika Ramasuri
  154. Ritu Dewan, Author, Professor, Director – CSSS (Centre for Study of Society and Secularism)
  155. Rohini Hensman, Independent Scholar, Writer and Activist
  156. Rohit Prajapati, trade union and environmental activist
  157. Rukmini Sen, academician
  158. Sabina Basha
  159. Sagari Ramdas, veterinary scientist
  160. Sakina Bohora, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  161. Samir Dass, Jan Swasthaya Abhiyan, Jharkhand
  162. Sampa Dasgupta, Development Professional
  163. Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party (India)
  164. Sandhya Gokhale, member, FAOW(Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  165. Sanjay Ranade, Professor, University of Mumbai
  166. Sanober Keshwaar , lecturer and activist
  167. Saranga Ugalmugle, Lawyer
  168. Sarojini N, Health Researcher
  169. Saswati Ghosh, Sociologist, women’s rights activist
  170. Satarupa Santra, academician
  171. Satnam Singh, Convener, Jan Swasthaya Abhiyan, Haryana
  172. Satyam Shrivastava, (SRUTI)
  173. Satyen Bordoloi
  174. Seema Azad, journalist, activist
  175. Setu
  176. Shabana Khan, activist, CPDR
  177. Shabnam Hashmi, Activist, ANHAD
  178. Shakeel, Convener, Jan Swasthaya Abhiyan, Bihar
  179. Shals Mahajan, writer
  180. Sheetal, student, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
  181. Shefali Saini, TISS, Mumbai
  182. Shinzani Jain
  183. Shoma Sen, Joint Secretary (CPDR)
  184. Shraddha Chatterjee, research scholar
  185. Shreosi Ray, researcher
  186. Shruti Chakravarty, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  187. Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Raqs Media Collective
  188. Shujaat Bhukari, senior journalist and editor, Rising Kashmir
  189. Siddharth Chakravarty, Oceans Policy and Law
  190. Simpreet Singh
  191. Smita Gandhi, Academician
  192. Srabasti Majumder, research scholar
  193. Sreejith Murali, Ambedkarite Students Association-TISS
  194. Suchitra Thapar, independent researcher
  195. Sujata Gothoskar, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  196. Sukanya Shantha, independent Journalist
  197. Sukla Sen, Peace Activist
  198. Sumita, Activist and Development Professional
  199. Surabhi Sharma, filmmaker
  200. Suresh Sawant, activist
  201. Susan Abraham, Executive Committee member, CPDR
  202. Sushmita Verma, member, CPDR and Bastar Solidarity Network
  203. Swapna Banerjee-Guha
  204. Swarnima Bhattacharya, Women’s Feature Service
  205. Swati Singh, Lawyer
  206. Swathi Seshadri, Bangalore
  207. Swatija Paranjpe, member FAOW (Forum Against Oppression of Women)
  208. Tanieem, student
  209. Tarun Bhartiya, filmmaker and writer
  210. Teesta Setalvad, Journalist, activist
  211. Tejas Harad, Economic and Political Weekly
  212. Trina Mukhopadhyay, research scholar
  213. Ujwalla Mhatre, Head of School, Vanita Vishram High School
  214. Ulka Mahajan, Activist
  215. Uma Chakravarty, Historian
  216. Uma V Chandru
  217. Usha Iyer, Assistant Professor, Stanford University
  218. Vani Subramaniam, member, Saheli
  219. Varda Dixit
  220. Varun Agarwal, Lawyer
  221. Vasanth Kannabiran, Activist and Writer
  222. Veena Gowda, Lawyer
  223. Vibhuti Patel, Academician and Activist
  224. Vidya Subramaniam, Senior Journalist
  225. Vikas Urs
  226. Vinitha Ramchandani, author
  227. Virginia Saldanha, activist
  228. Vrijendra, Lecturer and Human Rights Activist
  229. Vrinda Grover, Lawyer and Activist
  230. Wilfred D’Costa , INSAAF
  231. Yashasvi Mishra
  232. Zakia Soman, BMMA(Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan)


  1. Aaghaaz Magazine
  2. All India Secular Forum
  3. Amrita Wilson on behalf of South Asia Solidarity Group
  4. Bastar Solidarity Network
  5. Centre for Development Research and Action
  6. Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai
  7. Feminism in India
  8. Fem Positive
  9. Forum Against Oppression of Women
  10. LABIA — A Queer Feminist LBT Collective, Mumbai
  11. Radical Study Circle- TISS
  12. Rihai Manch, Lucknow
  13. Sabrang India
  14. Saheli, Delhi
  15. Tamilnadu Women’s Forum



BDS: Israel doesn’t get a pass on human rights

Vancouver Sun        October 30, 2016

Independent Jewish Voices believes in human rights for everyone

A section of Israel’s controversial separation wall. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) is an organization comprised of Jewish Canadians who share a commitment to social justice and universal human rights. IJV has challenged other organizations that represent Jewish Canadians to engage in public debate about the ongoing crisis in Israel-Palestine. Instead of agreeing to publicly debate their positions, these groups have chosen instead to vilify us.

The Vancouver Sun published an editorial opposing the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. When IJV objected to how it was characterized in the editorial, the Sun apologized and withdrew the editorial. While we are pleased that The Sun’s parent organization, Postmedia Network, agreed to remove this editorial from its websites and apologize for mischaracterizations of IJV, readers deserve an explanation of what this dispute is about.

We believe that the human rights of everyone, including Palestinians, deserve protection. We believe that Israel has been violating Palestinians’ human rights for decades by maintaining an illegal occupation, expanding its illegal settlements, and that Israel refuses to address what we consider is the institutionalized discrimination experienced by its Palestinian citizens. In our opinion, the Canadian government’s support for Israel reinforces Israel’s sense of impunity and its intransigence with regard to these issues.

Canadians should be aware of our view that the three demands of BDS are: ending Israel’s illegal occupation and tearing down the separation barrier that takes away portions of Palestinian territory; providing equal rights for Israel’s Palestinian citizens; and promoting the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes or receive compensation for having been forcibly displaced, as stipulated in UN Resolution 194. IJV believes that we must use BDS to apply pressure on Israel until it complies with international law and respects Palestinians’ human rights.

IJV encourages all forms of public debate and discussion on contentious political issues relating to the situation in Israel and Palestine, including the Green party of Canada’s debate on the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund of Canada. We believe this issue warrants further public debate and discussion.

Opposition to Israel’s violations of international law and its mistreatment of Palestinians does not make us “anti-Israel.” Furthermore, the notion that IJV is anti-Jewish is absurd. Far from being anti-Jewish, IJV is proudly Jewish, being grounded in Jewish values that promote social justice for all. These values guide our demand that Canada stop enabling Israel’s endless subjugation of the Palestinians.   

Finally, we — as well as the Palestinian leaders of the BDS movement — insist that there is no justification for any form of racism, including anti-Semitism, and that the battle against real anti-Semitism is undermined when Israel’s supporters label those who criticize Israel’s discriminatory laws and policies as anti-Semitic.

Submitted by Independent Jewish Voices Canada.

Mahasweta Devi’s work offends sentiments

OCTOBER 21, 2016
Following is the text of a letter to the Vice Chancellor, Central University of Haryana, sent by some academics protesting the attacks on Dr Snehsata Manav and Dr Manoj Kumar regarding the students’ production of the play ‘Draupadi’:
To the Vice Chancellor,
Central University of Haryana
Dear Vice Chancellor:
We write in support of Dr. Snehsata Manav and Dr. Manoj Kumar of the Department of English and Foreign Languages who have recently come under attack for their sponsorship of a student production on your campus of the play “Draupadi” based on a story by Mahasweta Devi who, as you know, is universally recognized as a towering figure in contemporary Indian literature. Her writings, translated into most Indian languages, have highlighted the struggles of oppressed and marginalized women and men. Her story “Draupadi”, whose dramatized version has been highly acclaimed and performed all over India, deals with the sensitive but enormously important question of the ethics of deploying the armed forces in dealing with civil disturbances within the country. This question, along with specific instances of rapes committed by army personnel in different parts of India, continues to be debated in the Indian public media and has engaged the attention of political leaders as well as the courts.
We strongly believe that it is both unjust and unwise to accuse intellectually responsible teachers of hurting the sentiments of some sections of opinion. The recent demise of Mahasweta Devi was a perfect occasion to engage university students in a serious discussion on why some of the greatest writers and artists of India have been concerned about the excesses of state violence carried out at the behest of those in power, no matter what their party or ideology.
We hope you will convey our views to those who have accused Dr. Manav and Dr. Kumar of being hurtful and unpatriotic. The university campus needs to be fostered as a place where difficult questions can be debated in a spirit of intellectual openness and without fear of censure.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, New York
Akeel Bilgrami, Stanley Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University, New York
Gauri Viswanathan, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, New York
Partha Chatterjee, Professor of anthropology, Columbia University, New York
Romila Thapar, Professor Emeritus in History, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Ramachandra Guha, author, Bengaluru
Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Emeritus Professor, Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata
Sumanta Banerjee, author, Hyderabad
Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Samik Bandyopadhyay, Tagore National Fellow, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Sobhanlal Dattagupta, Former S. N. Banerjee Professor of Political Science, University of Calcutta
Nandini Sundar, Professor of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi
Lakshmi Subramanian, Professor of History, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta
Nivedita Menon, Professor of Political Theory, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
B. Ananthakrishnan, Professor of Theatre Arts, University of Hyderabad
Jayati Ghosh, Professor, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Nirmalya Mukherjee, Professor of Philosophy, University of Delhi
Janaki Nair, Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Manabi Majumdar, Professor of Political Science, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta
Neeladri Bhattacharya, Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Moinak Biswas, Professor of Film Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata
Udaya Kumar, Professor of English, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Aditya Nigam, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing societies, Delhi
Dwaipayan Bhattacharya, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Sudipto Chatterjee, Professor of Cultural Studies, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta
Aniket Alam, Visiting Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad
Anand Teltumbde, Goa Institute of Management, Goa
P. Sanal Mohan, Associate Professor, School of Social sciences, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam
Kiran Kesavamurthy, Assistance Professor of Cultural Studies, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta
Garga Chatterjee, Assistant Professor Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
Pralay Majumdar, Assistant Professor of Biology, Presidency University, Kolkata
Trina Banerjee, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta
Baidik Bhattacharya, Assistat Professor of English, University of Delhi
Maidul Islam, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta
Anup Dhar, Associate Professor, School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University, Delhi