India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been “using its authority to silence any voice that challenges its domination and repression,” read the statement and strong condemnation signed by Noam Chomsky and an association of activists and scholars.
Police have arrested human rights activists including Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha and others in the Bhima Koregaon case.
“All these social activists have a long history of challenging state violence and human rights abuses through democratic and constitutional means,” the statement added that in India under Prime Minister Modi’s BJP government, attacks on Dalits, Muslims, Adivasis and other minorities have continued and intensified.
Since Narendra Modi took the Prime Minister’s office in 2014, there has been an alarming clampdown on every form of political dissent in India.
In recent months, the Maharashtra police arrested several prominent human rights activists including Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha and others in the Bhima-Koregaon case.
In a similar way, several years ago, Delhi University Professor Saibaba and political activist Kobad Ghandy were imprisoned on fabricated charges. All these social activists have a long history of challenging state violence and human rights abuses through democratic and constitutional means. Through their civil and human rights activism, they have become the voice of the voiceless, be it socially and economically marginalized communities, indigenous people, religious minorities, and victims of all kinds of oppressions in society.
As public intellectuals, writers, and poets they took the responsibility to develop political awareness, critical thinking, and the notion of social justice among the general public.
In Modi’s India, appalling attacks on Dalits (the so-called untouchables), Adivasis (the aboriginals of India), rationalists, Muslims and other religious minorities, and rights activists including human rights organizations like Amnesty International have continued and intensified.
The Modi Government, as part of its long-term political agenda to establish the Hindu nation, has been using its authority to silence any voice that challenges its domination and repression. The government has been using legal and extra-legal methods to suppress democratic, rational, and secular forces. In recent years, the vigilante groups associated with the ruling party have killed several rationalists, journalists, and secularists.
Moreover, the ruling party, by using its “legal” methods, has coercively detained and imprisoned public activists who are defending the fundamental rights of the people. To put them in prison the state first used its friendly media outlets to propagate the lie that these civil rights activists were conspiring to overthrow the Indian state.
By concocting a series of conspiracy stories, both the Indian state and the Maharashtra Government worked together to put civil rights activists behind the bars under draconian colonial sedition law.
These human rights violations raise questions of the responsibility of the international community and the global civil society in times of crisis. When the Supreme Court is unable to check the abuse of constitutional power and the judicial system cannot deliver justice to victims of state violence, then what should citizens do?
With all these undemocratic and authoritarian activities, the Indian state appears to be bulldozing its own constitution that upholds fundamental democratic rights and secular values.
Using all kinds of oppressive methods, the Modi Government is creating fear and apprehension among the people who challenge its neoliberal economic policies and ultra-nationalist agenda. These are pressing questions that we, as civil/human rights activists, are very concerned about.
We sincerely appeal to all students, workers, educationalists, writers, social justice activists, and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to take a stand on these human rights violations and demand immediate release of all imprisoned rights activists.
As citizens and immigrants, your voices play an important role in shaping public opinion in the campaign to free these wrongfully imprisoned activists. Your support to democracy, justice and free speech will help boost the morale of rights activists and democratic struggles in India. We invite all of you to actively participate in this global campaign and extend your solidarity with democratic rights activists.
- Noam Chomsky, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
- Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Laureate, Turkey
- Jonathan Cole, Former Provost of Columbia University, USA
- Judith Butler, Professor of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley
- Richard N. Zare, Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University, USA
- Robert Wade, Professor of International Development, London School of Economics, UK
- Akeel Bilgrami, Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University, USA
- Dimitri Papadimitriou, Director, Levy Institute, Bard College, USA
- Mriganka Sur, Professor of Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
- Jan Breman, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Amsterdam University, The Netherlands,
- Sanat Kumar, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Columbia University, USA
- Sheldon Pollock, Professor of Sanskrit, Columbia University, USA
- Barbara Harriss-White, Emerita Professor of Development Studies, Oxford University, UK
- Partha Chatterjee, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University, USA.
- N. V. Ramana, Professor of Physics, Princeton University, USA
- James Galbraith, Professor of Economics, University of Texas at Austin, USA
- Charles Taylor, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, McGill University, Canada
- Servaas Storm, Professor of Economics, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
- Arjun Appadurai, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University, USA.
- Alicia Puyana Mutis, Professor of Economics, Flacso, Mexico.
- Robert Pollin, Professor of Economics, University of Amherst at Massachusetts, USA
- Juan Carlos Moreno Brid, Professor of Economics, Universidad National de Mexico, USA
- Gerald Epstein, Professor of Economics, University of Amherst at Massachusetts, USA
- Pasuk Phongpaichit, Emerita Professor, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok Thailand.
- Kanti Rai, leading leukemia specialist, USA
- Gauri Vishwanathan, Professor of English, Columbia University, USA
- Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, UK
- Jennie Traschen, Professor of Physics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA
- David Kastor, Associate Head of Department of Physics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA
- Ugo Pagano, Professor of Economics, Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy
- Mira Nair, Film Director
- Ozlem Onaran, Professor of Economics, University of Greenwich, UK
- Engelbert Stockhammer, Professor of Economics, University of Bristol, UK
- Gary Dymski, Professor of Applied Economics, University of Leeds, UK
- Arjun Jayadev, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA.
- Elissa Braunstein, Colorado State University, USA
- Alicia Giron, Universidad National de Mexico, USA
- Daniele Tori, University of Greenwich, UK
- Pablo Bortz, Universirty of San Martin, Beunos Aires, Argentina
- Daniela Gabor, UWE Bristol, UK
- Annina Kaltenbrunner, University of Leeds, UK
- J.George Waardenburg, Emeritus professor in development economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
- Fernando J. Cardim de Carvalho, Emeritus Professor, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
- Mario Tonveronachi, Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy
- Jan Kregel, Director of Research, Levy Institute, Bard College, USA
- Thomas Ferguson, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA
- Malcolm Sawyer, Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Leeds, UK
- Thea Harvey-Barratt, Levy Institute, Bard College, USA
- Amrita Chhachhi, International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague Netherlands
- Noemi Levy, Universidad National de Mexico, USA
- Ilhan Dogus, University of Hamburg, Germany
- Edward Fullbrook, Executive Director, World Economics Association
- Brendan Burchell, University of Cambridge, UK
- Vamsi Vakulabharanam, Professor of Economics, University of Amherst at Massachusetts, USA
- Sripad Motiram, University of Massachusetts at Bosto, USA
- Stefano Zambelli, Universita di Trento, Italy
- Andrew B. Tylecote, Emeritus Professor, University of Sheffield, UK
- Jing Cai, University of Aberdeen, Scotland
- Julian Wells, Kingston University, UK
- Mehmet Kerem Coban, Lee Kuan Yew Institute of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
- Andres Lazzarini, University of San Martin, Argentina
- Radha Upadhyaya, University of Nairobi, Kenya
- Riccardo Bellofiors, Universita di Bergamo, Italy
- Carolina Alves, University of London
- Pritam Singh, Oxford Brookes University, UK
- Stephanie Seguino, University of Vermont, USA
- Nicolas Pons-Vignon, EHSS, Paris
- Sergio Cesarotto, Universita di Siena, Italy
- Tomas Rotta, University of Greenwich, UK
- Robin Blackburn, Cullman Fellow, New York Public Library
- David Freedberg, Director, Warburg Institute, University of London
- Mario Seccareccia, University of Ottowa, Canada
- Jens Lerche, University of London, UK
- Kevin Gallagher, Boston University, USA
- Maria Cristina Marcuzzo, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Italy
- Pascal Petit, University of Sorbonne, Paris France
- Deepankar Basu, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA.
- María Cecilia Ainciburu, Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy
- Eugenia Correa, Universidad Nacional de Mexico, Mexico City
- Wendy Olsen, Professor of Socio-Economics, University of Manchester, UK
- Radhika Balakrishnan, Rutgers University, USA
- Eduardo Strachman, Sao Paulo State University, Brazil
- Wesley Colin Marshall, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Iztapalapa, Mexico
- Trevor Evans, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany
- Geoffrey C. Harcourt, University of New South Wales, Australia
- Terrence McDonough, National University of Ireland, Galway
- Rod O’Donnell, University of Sydney, Australia
- David Bromwich, Professor of English, Yale University, USA
- Alfredo Saad Filho, SOAS, University of London, UK
- Victoria Chick, Professor Emerita, University College London, UK.
- Makoto Itoh, Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo, Japan
- Nobuharu Yokokawa, Musashi University, Tokyo, Japan
- Giovanni Vaggi, University of Pisa, Italy
- Terence J, Byres, Professor Emeritus, University of London, UK
- C.W.M. Naastepad, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
- Matilde Adducci, University of Turin, Italy
- Michael Landesmann, University of Vienna, Austria
- Heinz D. Kurz, University of Graz, Austria.
- Pascal Petit, University of Paris 13, France.
- Alessandro Roncaglia, Universita La Sapienza, Rome Italy
- Daniela Venanzi, Universita Roma 3, Italy
- Rune Skarstein, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
- Josef Poeschl, Vienna, Austria
- Lionello Punzo, Universita di Siena, Italy
- Issa Shivji, Director, Nyerere Resource Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- Terry McKinley, SOAS, University of London, UK
- John S. Saul, Professor Emeritus, York University, Canada
- Mehmet Ugur, University of Greenwich, UK
- Rachel Kurian, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
- Matias Vernengo, Bucknell University, USA
- Andrea Ginzburg, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy
- Mahmood Mamdani, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- Vijay Prashad, Trinity College, USA
- Elmar Altvater, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany
- Carlo D’Ippoliti, La Sapienza University of Rome
- Francesca Bettio, Universita degli Studi di Siena, Italy
- Carlo Panico, Universita Federico II, Naples, Italy
- John Bellamy Foster, University of Oregon, USA
- Amitava Krishna Dutt, University of Notre Dame, USA
- Antonio Yúnez-Naude, El Colegio de Mexico, Mexico
- Jonathan W. Moses, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trndheim, Norway
- Peter Lawrence, Keele University, UK
- Gilad Isaacs, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
- Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormick, Birkbeck College, UK
- Greg Albo, York University, Canada
- Grazia Ietto-Gillies, Emeritus Professor, London South Bank University, UK
- Antonella Palumbo, Roma Tre University, Italy
- Hannes Lacher, York University, Toronto, Canada
- Andrea Salanti, University of Bergamo, Italy
- Antonella Stirati, Università Roma Tre, Rome, Italy
- Deborah Fahy Bryceson, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
- Tore Linné Eriksen, Oslo University College of Applied Sciences, Norway
- Roberto Ciccone, Universita Roma Tre, Italy
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