JNUTA is outraged by the recent attacks on intellectuals and academic scholars for expressing views critical of majoritarian positions in public. It is to be noted that many of these attacks have been directed at academics from Dalit and minority communities—recent targets include Dr Ravi Kant of Lucknow University, Dr. Ratan Lal of Delhi University and Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, former Professor JNU. These intellectuals from marginalised and minority communities have been subjected to vituperative personal attacks, public threats of violence, police complaints and arrests, as well as relentless trolling on social media.
The JNUTA believes that all comments and observations made in public fora must be informed by civic discussion and rational arguments alone. It rues the use of a discourse of ‘hurt community sentiments’ as a weapon that provokes and justifies illegal intimidation by mobs on one hand and police intervention and legal action on the other as condemnable, as the aim of such a discourse is only to curtail intellectual freedom and open public debate on vital matters, and especially to silence intellectuals from Dalit and minority communities.
JNUTA expresses its strong opposition to all intimidation, violence and peremptory police action that obstructs free rational debate and the public practice of criticism by academics and intellectuals, which we see as indispensable for the life of a democracy. We demand that an immediate end be put to all such threats, police complaints, and arrests, and that the right to free and fearless expression of diverse points of view be upheld.