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Statement in support of the struggle for justice for Mudasir Kamran


[Via Ravi Chandran]

March 11, 2013.

We express our solidarity with the ongoing struggle of the students of the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad following the unfortunate suicide of Mudasir Kamran, a PhD student at the University, on March 02, 2013. We are dismayed at the insensitivity with which the University administration has handled the situations that led up to Mudasir's mysterious and tragic death labeled as suicide and the events that unfolded in its aftermath.

It is deplorable that the Vice-Chancellor, instead of acknowledging the failure of the system and addressing the apprehensions of the students by taking corrective steps that ensure justice, is resorting to coercive tactics and trying to threaten the students with police action if they do not call off their strike, and warning them of "zero semester" if classes do not resume on Monday (i.e. March 11). Such despicable strategies will not hamper the spirit of the students of EFLU, who have formed a "Struggle Committee for Justice for Mudasir Kamran". A group of progressive teachers of EFLU have come forward (in the name of "Teachers' Front for Justice and Democracy") opposing the authoritarian ways of handling the situation.

The most shocking aspect of the whole incident is the way in which the University administration is trying to hush up the incident by creating alarm and confusion by exploiting certain facts and ostensibly distorting some. In a press note, the VC expresses her concern about "damage to the reputation of the University and ... trouble in other sensitive regions," the obvious reference being to Kashmir. The VC also glosses over the role of the University authorities by attributing Mudasir's suicide to "emotional distress arising out of personal relationship," the reference being to Mudasir's putative homosexual relation with a male friend.

We need to seriously look into how Mudasir's identity as a Kashmiri Muslim and his alleged homosexuality would have contributed to his ending up in the police station on that fateful day. Acknowledging that our institutional spaces and public sphere are shaped and defined by hegemonic discourses of heteronormativity, majoritarianism, casteism, and elitism is but the first step to make our universities more inclusive. If our understanding of the situation is informed by this awareness, his Kashmiri identity cannot be seen as an "incidental fact" and the distress he was in cannot be brushed aside as arising out of "personal relationship" as the VC is trying to do.

A number of students close to Mudasir have asserted that what seems to have disturbed Mudasir the most on the eve of the tragic event was the humiliation he had to face at the police station. The University Proctor's inability to deal with a minor fight between two students, his active role in allowing it to escalate to the level of a police complaint, and his role in the subsequent detention of Mudasir at the police station cannot be overlooked. The University administration seems to be trying to cover up the questionable statements made by the Proctor and his insensitive conduct.

In this context, it is imperative that there be an impartial probe into all the aspects of this issue by a body that includes external members and has adequate student representation, followed by appropriate remedial measures and safeguards to prevent such occurrences in future, especially in the wake of the charges of victimization and caste discrimination that are being voiced by the Dalit and Adivasi students of EFLU.

We urge the University administration to cast off its obstinacy and resolve the matter at the earliest by paying heed to the just and democratic demands that are put forward by the Struggle Committee for Justice for Mudasir.

Endorsed by:

1. G.N. Saibaba, Assistant Professor, Ramlal Anand, University of Delhi
2. N. Sachin, Assistant Professor, Dyal Singh (Morning), University of Delhi
3. Jenny Rowena, Assistant Professor, Miranda House, University of Delhi
4. Saroj Giri, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Political Science, University of Delhi
5. Ashley Tellis, Assistant Professor, Ramjas, University of Delhi
6. Hany Babu, Associate Professor, Dept. of English, University of Delhi
7. Naveen Gaur, Associate Professor, Dyal Singh (Morning), University of Delhi
8. Rochelle Pinto, Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Delhi
9. Uma Gupta, Assistant Professor, Indraprastha College, University of Delhi
10. Sharmila Purkayastha, Assistant Professor, Miranda House, University of Delhi
11. Ravindar Goel, Associate Professor, Satyawati (Evening), University of Delhi
12. Dilip Menon, Mellon Chair in Indian Studies, University of Witwatersrand
13. Yasser Arafath, Assistant Professor, Dept. of History, University of Delhi
14. Subarno Chattarji, Associate Professor, Dept. of English, University of Delhi
15. Vijay Singh, Associate Professor (Retired), Satyawati College, University of Delhi
16. Tripta Wahi, Associate Professor (Retired), Hindu College, University of Delhi
17. Karen Gabriel, Associate Professor, St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi
18. P K Vijayan, Assistant Professor, Hindu College, University of Delhi
19. Nandini Chandra, Assistant Professor, Dept. of English, University of Delhi
20. Nandita Narain, Associate Professor, St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi
21. C. Sadasiva, Associate Professor, Dayal Singh College, University of Delhi
22. Arjumand Ara, Assistant Professor, Department of Urdu, University of Delhi
23. S A R Geelani, Associate Professor, Zakir Husain College, University of Delhi
24. Ali Javed, Associate Professor, Department of Urdu, University of Delhi
25. Rona Wilson, PR Secretary, Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners
26. Rina Ramdev, Associate Professor, Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi
27. Chitra Joshi, Associate Professor, Indraprastha College, University of Delhi
28. Sanghamitra Misra, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Delhi
29. Nabanipa Bhattacharya, Sri Venkateswra College, University of Delhi
30. Vidya Aiyar, MPhil student, Dept. of History, University of Delhi
31. Sourabh Kumar, MPhil student, Dept. of English, University of Delhi
32. Anirban Kar, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Delhi
33. Sanjay Srivastava, Professor, Intitute of Economic Growth, University of Delhi
34. Manisha Sethi, Fellow, NMML/ Jamia Millia Islamia
35. Shohini Ghosh, Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia
36. Sohail Akbar, Associate Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia
37. Neshat Quaiser, Associate Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia
38. Farah Farooqi, Associate Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia
39. Ghazi Shahnawaz, Associate Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia
40. Ambarien Alqadar, Assistant Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia
41. Tanweer Fazal, Assistant Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia
42. Ahmed Sohaib, Assistant Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia
43. Adil Mehdi, Associate Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia
44. Manoj Jena, Assistant Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia
45. Sukumar Narayana, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi
46. Nandini Dutta, Associate Professor, Miranda House, University of Delhi
47. Madhvi Zutshi, Assistant Professor, SGTB Khalsa College, University of Delhi
48. Vasant Sharma, Associate Professor, DCAC, University of Delhi
49. Ratna Raman, Associate Professor, Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi
50. Nellickal Jacob, Assistant Professor, Ramjas College, University of Delhi
51. Abha Dev-Habib, Assistant Professor, Miranda House, University of Delhi
52. Rajender Parihar, Assistant Professor, Ramjas College, University of Delhi
53. Roopa Dhawan, Associate Professor, Ramjas College, University of Delhi
54. Shailaja Menon, Assistant Profesor, Ambedkar University, Delhi
55. N Raghuram, Associate Professor, GGS IP University, New Delhi
56. Amitava Chakraborty, Associate Professor, Modern Indian Languages, University of Delhi
57. Sabitha T P, Assistant Professor, Hansraj College, University of Delhi
58. Gowhar Fazili, PhD scholar, Department of Sociology, University of Delhi
59. Krishnan Unni P, Associate Professor, Deshabandhu College, University of Delhi
60. Nikhil Jani, Associate Professor, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi
61. Mukul Mangalik, Associate Professor, Ramjas College, University of Delhi
62. Nalini Nayak, Associate Professor, PGDAV College, University of Delhi
63. Nilofer Kaul, Associate Professor, Hansraj College, University of Delhi
64. Gauri Viswanathan, Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University

~~~

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