The International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs supports free and open critical inquiry, rights of dissent, and opposes state violence against faculty, staff, and students exercising their rights of political expression and peacable assembly. We therefore condemn the continuing police brutality against students and faculty in India, most recently at Jamia Millia Islamia University, Aligarh Muslim University, and Jawaharlal Nehru University and continued violence against the public across India exercising their rights of assembly and dissent against the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA), National Citizenship Registry (NRC), and National Population Registry (NPR). The recently-instituted CAA bars Muslims from India’s neighboring countries (namely Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh) from the acquisition of Indian citizenship on the grounds of religious persecution, while expediting petitions from Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, and Parsis. The NRC and NPR will require the entire population to furnish proof of Indian citizenship and make possible the indefinite detention of people deemed to be in India illegally. Together, they advance an agenda of Hindu nationalism. They seek to mandate unequal rights and protections under the law and legitimizing discrimination against the poor and minorities, including SC/ST/OBC, and LGBTQ+ peoples. These laws fundamentally contravene the right to equality and secular citizenship enshrined in the Indian constitution.
Protests against the CAA, NRC, and NPR are being led by women, students, and people from all walks of life. The central and BJP-ruled state governments have responded with unprecedented brutality on peacefully gathered citizens on campuses and in the public sphere. Police have illegally entered campuses, firing on students and faculty. Historically Muslim institutions have faced exceptional aggression. Across India, Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code has been regularly instituted, criminalizing the assembly of five or more people, in order to sanction its brutality in suppressing the protests. Public transit and mobile and internet services have routinely been suspended. This follows the August 5, 2019 abrogation of Article 370, stripping Kashmir of its special status and inaugurating an ongoing period of complete lockdown, military curfew, and internet blackout.
This has been part of an objectionable trend in India of systematic attacks on all voices critical of government policies that calls to be stopped. The peaceful demonstration and gathering of citizens does not constitute criminal conduct. Rather, it expresses the right of citizens to peaceful public protest as well as the autonomy of the university as a non-militarized space for academic freedom, critical and dissenting voices, and freedom of expression and assembly.
Background and Information on All the Above Points:
About the Entire Situation
About Babri Masjid
Home Minister Amit Shah’s Invective against Muslims
Jammu and Kashmir
Use of NRC First in Assam and Extended to the Whole Country
Use of the Penal Code to Prevent Protests and Justify Police Violence
Government Interfering in Education