A group of 69 members of faculty, staff and students at the Indian Institute of Management Bengaluru have signed an open letter addressed to members of parliament asking them to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill saying it goes against the constitutional principle of “equality before law without regard to religious beliefs”.
“Concerned members of IIMB wrote to the MPs in their private capacity. The CAB fundamentally challenges core principles of our republic and students, staff, and faculty members worried about the future of our republic decided to speak up,” an associate professor at the centre for public policy at IIMB, Deepak Malghan, said regarding the letter.
The letter to the MPs urges them to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill to earn the respect of future generations for protecting founding principles of the republic. “Generations to come will salute the stand that you took in 2019 to safeguard the founding principles of our republic,” states the letter to the MPs.
“CAB, along with the promise of an expanded nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) has spread fear in the minds of more than two-hundred million of our fellow Muslim citizens,” says the letter signed by the members of the IIMB faculty, staff and students.
“India’s great strength lies in its diversity. Stripping two-hundred million fellow Indians of their basic dignity will not make India great or strong. Instead, it will lay the foundations of a country in perpetual strife,” says the letter to the MPs.
“The CAB will foment ethnic and communal discontent across the vast swathe of India from Tamil Nadu to Assam, even while it is highly unlikely to benefit even the intended beneficiaries. We urge you to oppose the CAB in the parliament,” the letter says.
The letter was circulated at the IIMB campus and those supporting the views signed the letter, said a signatory to the letter.
A section of IIMB faculty, staff, and students have in recent years been active on social issues mustering signatures in support of causes they have considered of great importance.
In January this year a group of 53 people from IIMB expressed solidarity with Prof Anand Teltumbde, senior professor at the Goa Institute of Management who was booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act by the Pune police in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence conspiracy.
“As faculty members, we are proud not only of Prof. Teltumbde’s achievements in the corporate world but also of the extremely rich scholarship he has produced on a diverse range of topics, including the Constitution of India. We are alarmed that a public intellectual who has made selfless contributions to the nation through his scholarship, can be under the threat of imprisonment on the basis of extremely questionable and prima facie motivated evidence,” said the IIMB solidarity statement in support of Prof Teltumbde.
“We see the abuse of the already draconian, UAPA to threaten and intimidate Prof Teltumbde with flimsy evidence as a threat not only to one individual but all of us, who firmly believe in the Constitution, the rights and obligations it confers,” the statement said.
Earlier in September 2018, a group of 47 people from IIMB had signed a petition against the August 2018 crackdown by the Pune police on human rights activists and academics for supporting the Elgaar Parishad at Bhima Koregaon in December 2017.
“We believe that democracy thrives when dissent is allowed and not in an environment of fear and persecution and `dissent is the safety valve of democracy’ as stated by the Supreme Court. The rights set out in the constitution should not be violated for any reason. Freedom of thought, speech and expression should apply to everybody, including and especially voices of dissent,” said the September 2018 statement signed by 47 IIMB persons.