Romila Thapar, Noam Chomsky, other renowned academics condemn Citizenship Act

Hyderabad: As many as 164 public intellectuals, academicians and historians from across the globe have condemned the ongoing political turbulence (Citizenship Act) in India. The list includes established personalities such as Noam Chomsky, Partha Chatterjee, Judith Butler and Nivedita Menon. In a written statement they condemned the “political brutality in Jamia Millia Islamia University” and the ongoing “illegal siege and curfew” imposed on Aligarh Muslim University.

“We stand in unconditional solidarity with students, faculty and staff of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). We also express our horror at this violent police and state action,” they wrote in their statement. They noted the brutalisation of students and attack on universities is against the norms of a democratic society.

Romila Thapar from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Veena Das from Johns Hopkins University, Sheldon Pollock from Columbia University and Homi K Bhabha from Harvard are a few of the public intellectuals who signed the solidarity statement. “We refuse to be silent at the violence unleashed on our colleagues, peacefully protesting the imposition of a discriminatory and unjust law,” they added.

On December 15, 2019, Delhi police entered Jamia Millia campus and attacked students who were peacefully protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act. “The Act bars Muslims from India’s neighbouring countries from the acquisition of Indian citizenship. It contradicts the right to equality and right to citizenship enshrined in the Indian constitution,” the statement said.

On December 15, in Jamia, police fired tear gas shells, entered hostels and attacked students studying in the library and praying in the mosque. Over 200 students were severely injured during the clash.

The academia also expressed their concern over the internet shutdown at AMU. “Because of the blanket curfew and internet blockage imposed at AMU, we fear a similar violent situation unfolding, without any recourse to the press or public,” they noted.

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