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CJAR Statement condemning the JNU developments



6/6 basement Jangpura B, Delhi – 110014


Patrons:  Justice P.B.Sawant, Justice H.Suresh, Shri Shanti Bhushan,, Prof. B.B.Pande,, Dr. Bhaskar Rao, Ms. Arundhati Roy, Dr. Banwari Lal Sharma, Shri Pradip Prabhu, Prof Babu Mathew, Dr. Baba Adhav, Ms. Kamini Jaiswal, Shri Mihir Desai, Shri Manoj Mitta

Executive Committee: Prashant Bhushan, Venkatesh Sundaram, Indu Prakash Singh, , Devvrat,  Nikhil Dey, Cheryl D’souza, Anjali Bharadwaj, Dipa Sinha, Annie Raja, Ramesh Nathan, Siddharth Sharma, Indira Unninayar, Madhuresh Kumar, Vijayan MJ, Harish Narasappa, Vipul Mudgal, Koninika Ray


The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform (CJAR) strongly condemns the unwarranted and illegal arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of ‘sedition’ by the Central government, in its desperate bid to silence all expressions of dissent.  For the law of sedition to succeed, there needs to be a causal relationship between the speech and the act of violence and mere speech, however insurrectionary, cannot amount to sedition.  The present instance is thus a chilling abuse of the law and betrays a pattern of recent attacks against voices of dissent on Indian campuses. Legally, there is no evidence that the student President either raised anti-national slogans nor was there any danger of incitement of mob violence against the government; nor any evidence of such incitement in any of his speeches prior to the arrest. The videos that are being cited as evidence must be examined for authenticity. Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement linking LeT support to the JNU agitation and Kanhaiya Kumar must be dismissed with the contempt that such a mal-intentioned, unfounded statement deserves.

CJAR strongly condemns the pre-planned attack on teachers, journalists and students of JNU at the Patiala House Courts on 15.02.16. The complicity of the police was apparent as they stood as mute spectators to the orchestrated attack. The manner in which the police and the government have tried to completely gloss over the incident unveils the naked face fascism that is gripping this nation.

These moves by the Centre reek of a larger more sinister agenda of the fascist, fundamentalist government to clamp down on and suppress any progressive voice that is raised in dissent against its anti-people activities that are in blatant disregard of the values of equality and freedom enshrined in our Constitution. There has been a systematic curbing or gagging of the freedom of speech and expression in various parts of the country. The space for criticism is narrowing and the space for a rational and productive debate even further. This dangerous trend appears to be escalating within educational and research institutes.

The CJAR condemns the anti-democratic actions of the government. CJAR demands the withdrawal of charges of sedition against Kanhaiya Kumar and his immediate release from police custody. CJAR also demands the removal of police presence from the JNU campus. The law of sedition, a vestige of colonial times, needs to be done away with since it is being misused by authorities to penalise or muzzle any form dissent with the fascist ideology of the ruling authorities.