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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

JNUTA condemns targetting of professors Lal, Kant for critiquing ‘majoritarian positions’

The JNU Teachers' Association said many such attacks have been “directed at academics from Dalit and minority communities”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 24, 2022 10:46:44 am
The JNUTA said it believes that "all comments and observations made in public fora must be informed by civic discussion and rational arguments alone".

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) has come out in support of professors Ratan Lal from Delhi University and Ravi Kant from Lucknow University, whom they said were being targetted for critiquing “majoritarian positions” in public.

While Lal, an associate professor of history, was arrested for an allegedly objectionable Facebook post referring to claims of a Shivling being found in the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, Kant has an FIR registered against him for making allegedly objectionable statements about the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Lal is currently out on bail.

“JNUTA is outraged by the recent attacks on intellectuals and academic scholars for expressing views critical of majoritarian positions in public. It is to be noted that many of these attacks have been directed at academics from Dalit and minority communities — recent targets include Dr Ravi Kant of Lucknow University, Dr Ratan Lal of Delhi University and Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, former professor JNU,” they said in a statement.

“These intellectuals from marginalised and minority communities have been subjected to vituperative personal attacks, public threats of violence, police complaints and arrests, as well as relentless trolling on social media,” the statement added.

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The JNUTA said it believes that “all comments and observations made in public fora must be informed by civic discussion and rational arguments alone”.

“It rues the use of a discourse of ‘hurt community sentiments’ as a weapon that provokes and justifies illegal intimidation by mobs on one hand and police intervention and legal action on the other as condemnable, as the aim of such a discourse is only to curtail intellectual freedom and open public debate on vital matters, and especially to silence intellectuals from Dalit and minority communities,” it said.

“JNUTA expresses its strong opposition to all intimidation, violence and peremptory police action that obstructs free rational debate and the public practice of criticism by academics and intellectuals, which we see as indispensable for the life of a democracy. We demand that an immediate end be put to all such threats, police complaints, and arrests, and that the right to free and fearless expression of diverse points of view be upheld,” it said.

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