Statement of Solidarity with HCU Students and Staff from UK-based Concerned Scholars
We, the undersigned, who are UK-based concerned scholars, express our deep dismay over the police brutality directed at students and faculty members of Hyderabad Central University, starting on March 22, 2016. We are alarmed that students and staff calling for justice at the University have had charges pressed against them, have been disappeared from the campus and that there are reports of assaults on them in custody. We condemn the police presence on campus, the authorities’ denial of water, electricity, and food to those remaining in student accommodation, and the brutal attack on a PhD scholar for cooking in University premises.
These actions, coming in the aftermath of events culminating in the suicide of a Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, constitute a severe assault on democratic rights of free expression and thought, assembly and association. They go against the very purpose of universities as places for critical thinking, and damage the international reputation of HCU. As scholars who admire the work of many academic colleagues and alumni at HCU, we are concerned that HCU seems to be fast descending into a campus of unrestrained repression of dissenting voices among students and staff.
We urge the Vice Chancellor and other University authorities to get rid off the police on campus, to protect its students and staff who have been held in custody and have had charges pressed against them, to bring normalcy to campus, and to assure its staff and students that their freedoms, dignity and rights will always be respected.
Dr. Subir Sinha, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Dr. Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick
Dr. Alpa Shah, London School of Economics
Dr. Jen Lerche, SOAS, University of London
Dr. Alessandra Mezzadri, SOAS, University of London
Dr. Navtej Purewal, SOAS, University of London