A section of faculty members of the South Asian University (SAU), the institution jointly established by Saarc nations, on Friday protested the police action on students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University.
Students from different Indian forums in American universities like Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Cornell and Brown had on Thursday issued an open letter addressed to the US Congress urging it to express disapproval of the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed countrywide exercise to create a National Register of Citizens (NRC) through “targeted sanctions”.
The open letter called on the Indian government to immediately withdraw the CAA and the proposed NRC.
In a statement, the teachers of SAU in New Delhi said the use of force against the students was a violation of their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution.
“We underline that universities are places for critical thinking and for expression of ideas. Use of force against the students protesting peacefully against the CAA and NRC violates the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution of India,” the statement said.
The faculty members condemned the “highhanded action” of the police and urged the Centre and the state governments to refrain from using force against students and other citizens protesting peacefully across India.
The faculty members requested the Centre to investigate the attack on students and take appropriate action.
The university has students from the eight Saarc nations, including Bangladesh and Pakistan. The university is currently functioning from its Akbar Bhavan campus in Chanakyapuri, offering master’s and research programmes. The entire capital expenditure, including the construction of the campus, is being borne by the Indian government, while the operational cost of the university is shared by all the Saarc nations.
Both Jamia and AMU are learnt to have sent reports to the human resource development ministry on the police atrocities. Demands have been raised in several quarters that the HRD ministry intervene to ensure the police do not enter campuses again.
However, HRD ministry officials said it would be difficult for the ministry to take any steps immediately since it was not clear if the students were involved in violence.