RESIST THE FASIST ATTACK ON RIGHT TO EXPRESSION
REPEL THE COLONIAL ACT OF SEDITION
Fascists and demagogues so apprehensive of dissenting ideas and their expression that they begin their campaign by attacking universities and libraries through its paramilitary wings like Mussolini’s Black Shirts and Hitler’s Storm Troopers. MS Golwalkar, popularly known as Guruji in RSS circles, its biggest ideologue and the longest serving Sarsanghchalak, while dissuading the ‘Hindus’ from the freedom struggle, had also admired Hitler and pleaded to the ‘Hindus in Hindusthan’ to imitate him. His followers of today seem to have begun to implement his advice by attacking educational institutions and intellectuals since Modi’s ascendance to power at the centre. Its various fronts – ABVP, BJYM, VHP, BAJRANGDAL etc—are working in tandem are acting like Hitler’s storm troopers. Attack on JNU in the name of “antinationalism”, and arrest of young activists under the colonial Sedition Act, though not exactly but broadly compares with the NAZI clamp down on communists and other political opponents after stage-managed fire in the Reichstag (Parliament). Attack on the intellectuals and students and JNUSU President charged with sedition on the basis of a doctored footage aired by the notorious news channels, Zee and Times Now smacks of long drawn conspiracy against India’s higher Education and suppression of dissent and right to expression and association. The way Rajnath and Smrti Irani enquired about the incident in few minutes and declared JNU, an abode of democratic academic culture not conducive for breeding the traits of devotion and communal superstitions. Umar Khalid, an authentic atheist, with Muslim name was immediately linked with militant groups of Kashmir and that he took training in Pakistan. Fascist rumor machine works very fast with dangerous consequences. The ire with which the Home and HRD ministers thundered with ultimatum of wipe out terrorism, the orchestrated declarations of JNU being a breeding ground of anti-nationalism smacks of its planning at the highest government level. It is a dangerous omen. Academia and scholars world over are standing with JNU. An inadvertent consequence of its attack on the institutions beginning with ban on Phule-Periyar circle, IIT Madras; FTII; institutional murder of Rohit Vemula in HCU, Hayderabad up to JNU, has been deepening unity of Jay Bhim-Lal Salam slogans, a much awaited natural unity of the forces against social and economic inequality perpetuated by state apparatuses.
We, the democratic rights organizations are seriously concerned with the ongoing trend of fascist attacks on right to thought, expression, association and dissent and terrorizing the ideological opponents in to silence by invoking draconian Sedition Act, a colonial hangover, used by colonial rulers against those who were against the colonial tyranny. Now it is being invoked who ever dares to think and differ and has courage to express the difference. We demand scarping of this anti-national colonial Act. Amartya Sen raightly said, “We should not allow the colonial penal code that imposes unfreedoms to remain unchallenged. We should not tolerate the intolerance that undermines our democracy and fecilitates a culture of impunity of tormentors.”
It is in this context we seek to initiate an ongoing discourse on attack on institutions and ideas and on the need of scraping of draconian acts like the one in question that violate the natural and human rights to question, the key to any knowledge. We appeal you to join us in this discourse and ongoing struggle against the fascist designs of right extremism.