We, the students and faculty members of North East Institute of Social Sciences and Research (NEISSR) and Peace Channel staff, Nagaland, earnestly appeal all concerned and responsible persons and organizations affecting the situation in the JNU campus to ensure violence is checked, law and order is maintained for everyone’s safety and security in the campus and resolute actions are taken up by the varsity administration to remove the fears of violence from minds of students and faculty members in the campus and create space for dialogue to resolve the issues. We take this position and garner the courage to make this appeal as responsible citizens of this democratic country from a higher education institute with a vision and mission for peace and nonviolence in the North-eastern region and rest of India. We say this with decades of violent experiences and its affect in the lives of the people in the region. Give us a chance to recover and restore dignity of life to us and to all in India.
The situation at India’s premier higher educational institute and internationally acclaimed Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi following the recent hike in the admission and hostel fees has been of great concerns for all students pursuing higher education in the country. Students of the University have been agitating over the hike in the fees which was extraordinarily high and the concern of economically poor meritorious students is understandable and justifiable. It was expected that the administration of the premier institute and agitating students’ community would settle the issue through negotiation in an exemplary manners for the rests of the country. But to the disbelief of many citizens the situation seems to have turned into a political clash between sections of students supporting the ruling political party at the Centre and those of the opponents who subscribe to entirely opposing political ideologies. Students’ community in the rest of India and north-eastern region, in particular, have been closely watching the situation in the campus for important lessons to be learnt and outcomes to be emulated in dealing with similar in-campus issues as responsible citizens of a democratic country. However, the outcomes so far particularly the incident that has happened in the intervening night of 5th and 6th Jan 2020 inside JNU Campus is not only disturbing the conscience of responsible citizens but also discouraging any positive outcomes to be replicated. A sort of distrust in the establishment has apparently crept in and this must be checked earnestly to re-instill the trusts.
The attitude of the administration, showing volte face to the aggrieved students instead of creating space for dialogue and the violent actions of different students’ organizations representing different political parties is extremely harmful to the democratic foundation of the nation. The highest educational institute in the country has become most despicable example of using violence for resolving conflicts. What is more disturbing and demoralizing the violent actions of some student groups that have gone beyond imaginations is the physical assaults on faculty members, women and disable students in the campus, and destruction of ambulance and intimidation to medical staffs who rushed to the campus for rescue of the wounded and injured! The role of law-enforcement agencies, at the heart of the capital city, apparently, taking side, absolving trouble makers and undermining their own bounden duties does not augur well as examples in this country! The violence that has been unleashed in the campus and dereliction of duties of the law enforcement agencies are not unacceptable. The violence in the campus has to be checked at all costs to advance democracy from the higher education institutes in the country. Moreover, the unchecked violence inside the premier institute in the heart of capital city will nowhere take the nation towards sustainable development and peace goals if violence and hatred are the demonstrated methods of resolving differences in this country known for its diversities. We are seriously concerned.
In solidarity to all who are making efforts to restore normalcy and creating space for dialogue and conflict resolution.
Faculty members, students of NEISSR & Peace Channel staff, Dimapur, Nagaland.
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