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Solidarity Statement condemning the attack on Students and Professors of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi on 5 January 2020

We, the undersigned members of the Department of South Asia Studies and the South Asia community at the University of Pennsylvania, strongly condemn the violence unleashed by the BJP, RSS, ABVP, and their allies under the Hindu Nationalist government of Prime Minister Modi.


The most recent attack by masked goons on unarmed Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students and faculty on the evening of 5 January 2020 with rocks and rods while the police looked on, is the latest in a series of brutal attacks on students and teachers. This is part of a campaign to silence dissent to the government’s campaign against Muslims, dalits, and ethnic minorities across the country. State violence, whether carried out by police, or by private citizens who are being radicalized by the state’s dangerous rhetoric, must not be tolerated anywhere. These physical aggressions buttress the fascist, Islamophobic, casteist, and classist adoption of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The CAA coupled with the NRC challenges the secular fabric of India's constitution - excluding Muslims while making a claim to protect the rights of "religious minorities". In demanding documents as proof of citizenship, these laws pose a dangerous threat to dalits, tribals, and economically marginalised communities. 


Over the last few years we have witnessed a concerted attack on educational institutions across India, of which the latest instances are the attacks on JNU, Jamia Milia Islamia University, and Aligarh Muslim University.  The Police’s reaction to the violence has been to go after the victims, as evidenced by the First Information Report (FIR) issued against the JNU Students’ Union president, Aishe Ghosh. This demonstrates the purposefulness of the police’s non-action, and their complicity in this attack. This comes as no surprise as reports from Uttar Pradesh speak to grotesque violence, often of a sexual nature, against Muslims; in Kashmir, the army and police have inflicted untold brutality and havoc (untold, since there are still active telephone and internet blackouts) across that region against the Muslim population there; and in Assam, there has been cruel repression against the local opposition to the NRC and CAA.


We support the JNU Teachers’ Association in calling for an immediate dismissal of the JNU Vice Chancellor, Proctor, and all those complicit in allowing goons to enter the campus and unleash an organized attack on the university as the police stood silent.


We stand in solidarity with groups and individuals across the country in firm opposition to the NRC and CAA. 


We call for an immediate end to the lockdown in Kashmir and parts of Assam. 


We implore an end to all violence, and particularly police brutality, against Muslims in UP, Kashmir, and elsewhere across the country. 


We demand the immediate release of Bhim Army leader Chandrashekhar Azad.


Finally, we demand that the government rescind the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act and clearly announce that they will not introduce NRC in India, or link the National Population Register with the provisions of the NRC.  




  1. Ayesha Sheth
  2. Baishakh Chakrabarti
  3. Elliot Montpellier
  4. Anannya Bohidar
  5. Daniel Lapinski
  6. Rovel Sequeira
  7. Aashish Gupta
  8. Vikrant Dadawala
  9. Kaushik Ramu
  10. Shaashi Ahlawat
  11. Akhil P. Veetil
  12. Samira Junaid
  13. Anirudh Karnick
  14. Max Dugan
  15. Arshdeep Singh Brar
  16. Purvi Parikh
  17. Chetkar Jha
  18. Suvir Kaul
  19. Ania Loomba
  20. Apurva Bamezai
  21. Aishwarya Kaple
  22. Rithika Kumar
  23. Shweta Chopra
  24. Roshan Santhosh
  25. Sneha Mani
  26. Raka Sen
  27. Indivar Jonnalagadda
  28. Kim Fernandes
  29. Pooja Nayak
  30. Nancy Roane
  31. Afsar Mohammad
  32. Alexandra Zeiger
  33. Projit Bihari Mukharji
  34. Manjita Mukharji
  35. Megan Robb
  36. Lisa Mitchell
  37. Nick Millman
  38. Gianni Sievers
  39. Anahita Kumar
  40. Leonard C Shaw 
  41. Nikhil Anand
  42. Philip Friedrich
  43. Darakhshan Khan
  44. Gregory Goulding
  45. Jawan Shir Rasikh
  46. Jef Pierce
  47. Sudev Sheth
  48. Ishani Dasgupta
  49. Shweta Chopra
  50. Anju Parvathy Biju
  51. Ankit Saxena
  52. Arnav Bhattacharya
  53. Daud Ali
  54. Faraz Zaidi
  55. Avantika Diwadkar
  56. Ayankas Pattnaik
  57. Savita Ananthan
  58. Kristina Nielsen
  59. Fatima Tassadiq

To sign the Solidarity Statement, click here.