We, the undersigned students and teachers of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad strongly condemn the police presence, raids and arrests in the JNU campus and the attack on JNU students, teachers and media persons at the Patiala House Court premises.
In a time when public discourse in this country has descended to the level of shouting matches on prime time television, universities are one of the last bastions of free dialogue and debate. Events like that on February 9th, 2016 in JNU provide for a much needed platform to further intellectual discourse.
Even if the slogans shouted at the event were in bad taste or offensive to certain sections of the society, they are still protected by the freedom of speech as guaranteed under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.
The law of sedition as it has been interpreted by the Indian Supreme Court only applies to speech which is an incitement to violence or public disorder and thus, does not apply to the present factual scenario.
The law of sedition is a vestige of the colonial legacy and has a history of being used to suppress views which have been unfavourable of the establishment. Use of such an archaic law to suppress ideas against the state is uncalled for and highly condemnable.
We therefore, stand in solidarity with JNU Student’s Union President Kanhaiya Kumar and other students who have been charged with sedition by the government.
We demand that the government immediately withdraw the charges against the students of JNU and stop suppressing dissenting voices by labelling them as anti-national.
February 16th, 2016
Teachers of Nalsar, University of Law, Hyderabad
1. Anshuman Shukla
2. Sidharth Chauhan
3. Hota Agni Kumar
4. Neha Pathakji
5. N. Vasanthi
6. T. Kannan
7. Aruna Venkat
8. Syed Ashfaq Hussain
9. SNA Shafi
10. H. Vageeshan
11. P. Ashwini Kumar
12. T. Raghavendra Rao
13. Amita Dhanda
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