We are community, student and legal activists in the United States fighting racialized and Islamaphobic state repression and the continuing assault of neoliberalism in our universities, workplaces and communities. As we watch India’s students and activists mobilize in mass for the right to dissent in the face of state sanctioned violence and relentless harassment we realize the many ways in which our struggles are interconnected.
We send strong messages of solidarity to all students, workers, communities and human rights defenders throughout India struggling against an increasingly repressive right-wing nationalist and neoliberal regime.
We salute Rohith Vemula(1) , the Dalit scholar & poetic writer whose brave act ignited new and important waves of protest throughout India. Rohith reminded many of the Tunisian street vendor who five years ago took his own life in protest of state and economic violence, igniting calls for “Bread, Freedom, Social Justice and Human Dignity.” Rohith’s life and words remind us of the importance of supporting the resistance of women, men and other genders against caste apartheid, global apartheid and all systematic racism. We honor the Ambedkarite(2) movement for its immense contribution to these struggles.
We salute Umar Khalid & his fellow student organizers who have consistently stood up for the rights of vulnerable & oppressed people including victims of anti-terrorism laws and victims of militarized policies such as operation green hunt and the ongoing occupation of Kashmir. We applaud the efforts of those students who have reminded the world of the brutal occupation of Kashmir and the illegal execution of Afzal Guru (3) an act used to criminalize these students.
We are horrified to hear of the killings of Shaista Hameed & Danish Farooq (4), young university students gunned down by government forces in Kashmir the day before the Modi regime started its attacks against #JNU. Where is justice for these students?We stand in solidarity with student leader Kanhaiya Kumar. He has faced cruel violence during his detention. We applaud every student, lawyer and journalist who have supported Kanhaiya in the face of attacks.
We fully condemn the recent acid attack on tribal rights activist & teacher Soni Sori(5) in Bastar, Chhattisgarh. For her efforts to bring justice to local peoples she has long been the target of the State. There are many facing similar violence. We have increasingly heard reports of journalists and human rights defenders attacked and expelled from Chhattisgarh under police pressure.(6) We know such actions are a meant to hide the immense abuses taking place in this State by the regime. We salute all who continue to risk their lives in exposing this truth.
We condemn the brutal and Islamophobic lynching of Mohammad Aklaq in Dadri(7) this past fall. Such blatant attacks as Dadri are inspired by the right-wing nationalism of the the ruling party, sanctioned by the both the inaction and actions of the State.
We continue to organize global acts of solidarity with India’s Workers in all sectors who are struggling in various ways for their right to organize and for their basic dignity. Workers have been met with extraordinary violence and criminalization as a result, including the brutal attacks on thousands of protesting Honda workers Haryana last week.(8) We add our support for the call to free the unfairly accused workers of Maruti Suzuki(9) in Haryana and the imprisoned workers of Pricol in Tamil Nadu.(10).
We salute countless students like Umar in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and allover who have consistently shown their solidarity with the global movement to free Palestine. We understand that as the BJP led regime strengthens relations with Israel such solidarity increases the vulnerability of students. We salute your bravery.
In our work and activism in the U.S. and globally we will continue to educate ourselves and support the important political, economic and social struggles taking place in India and South Asia. This support begins here. We will not tolerate U.S. normalization with the repressive Modi regime, just as we challenge their relationships with the oppressive States of Israel and Egypt and others. The struggle is global.
We offer our full support and solidarity as you fight for:
• Justice for Rohith Vemula, through the resignation of VC Appa Rao and the passage of the Rohith Act in Universities to stop systemic oppression of Dalit students.
• Dismantling Caste Apartheid.
• Protection of the right of political dissent for all in India, U.S. and throughout the world.
• An end to the demonization & threats of violence against Umar Khalid, his fellow student organizers & their families, and the removal of all ‘sedition’ charges against all students.
• Release of JNU Student Kanhaiya Kumar, Cancellation of the FIR (Charging report) against Him, and accountability for the shameful attacks on Kanhaiya by lawyers and journalist while appearing in Court.
• Release of Kashmiri intellectual, and Delhi University Professor Syed Abdur Rahman (SAR) Gilani on so-called “sedition charges”. (8)
• Justice for the deaths of Shaista Hameed & Danish Farooq.
• Full demilitarization of Kashmir.
• Justice for Soni Sori and an end to the attacks on of lawyers & journalists exposing human rights abuses in Chhattisgarh.
• An end to the criminalization of organized Workers throughout the country.
Al-Awda New York – The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
American Muslims For Palestine- New York
American Muslims for Palestine – New Jersey
Muslim American Society-New York
Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee
New York City Students for Justice in Palestine
Labor For Palestine
National Lawyers Guild, International
International Action Center
Suzanne Adely , Al-Awda NY & National Lawyers Guild
Lamis Deek , Al-Awda NY & National Lawyers Guild
Larry Redmond, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
Hasmik Geghamyan, National Lawyers Guild, San Fransisco
Corinna Mullin, University of Tunis
Pooja Gehi, National Lawyers Guild
Azadeh N. Shahshahani, Project South, National Lawyers Guild
Michael Letwin, Esq., Former President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325
Martha L. Schmidt, National Lawyers Guild
Mohammed Malik, Philadelphia South Asian Collective
Gaye Ozpinar, Lawyer