We in the STEPS Centre stand in full solidarity and support for our colleagues at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), India. We were distressed to hear of the circumstances leading to the arrests and raids carried out on the JNU campus in the last few days, and the subsequent events, including violent assaults on faculty and students.
Universities should be places where students should be able to freely debate views, including controversial ones, without threat of state action. We are inspired by the ongoing positive efforts by the JNUTA and student bodies to build solidarities and not to escalate confrontations under extremely challenging circumstances.
Many of us have been fortunate enough to have had long standing and rich academic collaborations with teachers and students across many centres in the social and environmental sciences at JNU. The launch of the South Asia Sustainability Hub co-hosted by JNU colleagues last month is only the latest chapter in a long history of collaboration and exchange.
We have always greatly appreciated the intellectual stimulation and warm friendship offered by our colleagues. In this context, it is vital for us to support the principles of free speech and open debate which are so necessary for engaged academic communities everywhere.
With colleagues at JNU and around the world, we will continue to work together on the global consortium which builds on our common values; and reinforce our commitment to understanding and supporting more democratic decision-making processes, enhanced social justice and environmental integrity.