DUTA Resolution on SAR Geelani and the sedition law

March 19, 2016

The following two resolutions were adopted by the DUTA Executive on 16 February 2016

Resolution No. 1:
(Proposed by the Office Bearers)

The DUTA reaffirms its commitment to the core Constitutional values of the Republic of India.

The DUTA strongly condemns the police crackdown unleashed on the students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University, and on some teachers of Delhi University, by the Government in the name of fighting anti-national activities. Following closely on the heels of the tragic suicide of RohithVemula, the recent crackdown has highlighted the insensitivity of the Government towards growing student discontent and protests across the country. It is unfortunate that the Government has not learnt a lesson from the devastating consequences of the mishandling of the student protests in the University of Hyderabad.

The DUTA is unequivocal in condemnation of any activity aimed at subverting the Constitution and threatening the unity and integrity of the country. It also strongly condemns the anti-India slogans being raised in the some of the video footage shown in support of the police crackdown. However, without even a prima facie investigation into the incident and the identity of those raising objectionable slogans, the virtual police siege of the campus and hostels, and subsequent arrest of the President, JNUSU, who was well-known to have been neither an organiser nor supporter of the alleged slogans, smacks of witch-hunting. The DUTA believes that the student should not have been arrested without verifying the veracity of the material evidence. The inaction of the police against lawyers and an MLA seen attacking students, teachers and media persons at Patiala House shows the complete collapse of the rule of law and a fair and neutral administrative machinery. The DUTA also condemns the misleading media trial and attempt to whip up hysteria on the issue.

The DUTA upholds the core Constitutional values of secularism, social justice and freedom of speech. It expresses grave concern about the slapping of sedition charges without proper investigation as to their applicability. Mere expression of views, however unpalatable, does not constitute “sedition” as categorically defined by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its Judgment in the case of “KedarNath Das vs the State of Bihar”.

The DUTA extends its whole-hearted support to and solidarity with the students and teachers of JNU. It demands the immediate release of the President of JNUSU, and the withdrawal of sedition charges against eight students. It urges the Vice Chancellor of JNU to stand up for the autonomy of the University, and expedite its internal enquiry into the entire episode in a fair and transparent manner. It also demands a judicial probe to establish the authenticity of the material submitted as evidence as well as the claims and counterclaims of conspiracy and seeks action against those found guilty in accordance with the law of the land.

The DUTA demands an immediate end to the harassment of Delhi University teachers with regard to a meeting held in the Press Club of India. It demands an end to their repeated detention and questioning which has been going on since 12 February and a fair and transparent inquiry into the incident.

The DUTA sees the recent developments in various Universities as part of the design to dismantle public-funded universities at the behest of international corporate interests. The last few years have witnessed a systematic destruction of the academic processes and structures, democratic spaces and autonomy of public-funded universities. The DUTA urges the university community across the country to stand up in defence of our public-funded universities that provide access to affordable quality education. The bringing down of premier universities that have a tradition of upholding the academic standards and a democratic culture that fosters creative and independent thinking can only benefit forces that are inimical to the interests of this country.

Resolution No. 2
(Proposed by AM Khan and Seconded by Sunil Kayesth)

The DUTA condemns in unequivocal terms anti-India slogans raised in JNU. It also condemns the police brutality without going into the veracity of the material evidence available in the form of video. The haste in which the police acted betrays the desire of the government to gain control over the university. The sloganeering of a few cannot be construed as the collective JNU being the culprit. The availability of all kinds of video necessitates a judicial probe to ascertain the presence and absence of culpability. Till then punitive actions including the arrest of JNU President should be withdrawn. All witch-hunting should stop forthwith.

(Both resolutions were adopted by a vote of 12 in favour and 4 against with 0 absentions)

Nandita Narain (DUTA President)
Sandeep (DUTA Secretary)