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Over 400 Academics, Activists, Journalists Object to Silencing of Discussions on Palestine on Campuses

The signatories called upon university administrators and the government to respect academic freedom.
Over 400 Academics, Activists, Journalists Object to Silencing of Discussions on Palestine on Campuses

Representational image. Image Courtesy: Flickr

More than 400 signatories, comprising sociologists, political scientists, academicians, and journalists, have expressed strong objection against discussions on Israel’s war on Palestine are being suppressed on university campuses in the country. 

Issuing a statement, the signatories called upon university administrators and the government to respect academic freedom. The statement also underlined “India’s long history of anti-colonial struggle which has historically provided the lens through which the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, equality and human rights has been viewed in India.” 

“We object to the way in which any discussion of the historical context of the occupation of Palestine and the barbaric Israeli assault on Gaza, along with the denial of food, fuel and water, since October 7, 2023, is being projected as support for the brutal terror attack on civilians in Israel by Hamas on October 7,” the statement said. 

It called on university administrations in India  to uphold their statutory and constitutional obligations to respect the rights of faculty and students to organise discussions and invite speakers without interference. 

The signatories further objected to the Israeli ambassador’s “interference with academic freedom” and said his actions disregarded the competence of Indian scholars to analyse historical and political situations.  

The objection refers to the incident wherein former Delhi University professor Achin Vanaik gave a lecture on Palestine at O.P. Jindal University on November 1. Following the lecture, the university asked Vanaik to “express regret” over his remark, but he refused. 

Vanaik’s lecture led to the Israeli Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, writing to the founding vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. C. Raj Kumar. In the letter, he said, “I cannot understand why an event delegitimizsng the State of Israel was hosted at the University,” The Wire reported

“Defending the right to life and dignity of Palestinians, or pointing out the links between Zionism and Hindutva as supremacist ideologies, is not equivalent to antisemitism,” the statement of the over 400 signatories said. 

The statement also slammed the alleged appropriation of Palestine’s issue to fuel Islamophobia in India. 

“In all the attacks on campus events on Palestine, we see the Hindutva ecosystem at work – known Hindutva individuals who tweet against the faculty members concerned, groups which organise protests against them on campus, and a pliant media which engages in defamation of the academics as terror supporters,” it said. 

The statement further asked the Indian government and political parties to stop criminalisation of solidarity protests with Palestine, and gave examples of FIRs lodged against students and their detentions. 

Read the full statement below: 

Statement of Solidarity with Palestine and Condemnation of Attacks on Academic Freedom Related to Palestine 

As academics and other concerned persons, we, the undersigned, are outraged at the manner in which discussions on the ongoing war against Palestine are being silenced on Indian campuses, and in the public sphere more broadly. We are issuing this statement to call upon university administrators and the government to respect our academic freedom. We would also like to remind everyone of India’s own long history of anti-colonial struggle which has historically provided the lens through which the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, equality and human rights has been viewed in India. 

We object to the way in which any discussion of the historical context of the occupation of Palestine and the barbaric Israeli assault on Gaza, along with the denial of food, fuel and water, since October 7th 2023, is being projected as support for the brutal terror attack on civilians in Israel by Hamas on October 7th. 

We object to the Israeli ambassador’s interference with academic freedom on Indian campuses. This disrespects the competence of Indian scholars to analyze historical and political situations for themselves. Defending the right to life and dignity of Palestinians, or pointing out the links between Zionism and Hindutva as supremacist ideologies, is not equivalent to antisemitism. 

We strongly condemn the hijacking of the Palestine issue to further Islamophobia within India. In all the attacks on campus events on Palestine, we see the Hindutva ecosystem at work – known Hindutva individuals who tweet against the faculty members concerned, groups which organize protests against them on campus, and a pliant media which engages in defamation of the academics as terror supporters. 

We demand that the Indian government, as well as all political parties in power in different states stop criminalizing protests in solidarity with Palestine. The FIRs filed against students of Aligarh Muslim University, and detentions of youth and students in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Coimbatore are examples of this. ManyOpposition parties have failed to show sufficient solidarity with the people of Palestine and have thus betrayed the history of India’s own freedom struggle. 

We call upon University administration to uphold their statutory and constitutional obligations and respect the intelligence, competence and integrity of their own faculty and students, and their right to organize talks and invite speakers as pedagogical interventions.

List of Signatories:

Nandini Sundar, sociologist 

Nivedita Menon, political scientist 

Ravi Sundaram, media scholar 

Rajshree Chandra, political scientist 

Rohan D’Souza, historian 

Pamela Philipose, journalist 

Maya John, historian 

Karen Gabriel, English literature 

Achin Vanaik, political scientist 

Apoorvanand, Hindi literature 

Ayesha Kidwai, linguist 

Atul Sood, regional development 

Anita Rampal, educationist 


And 457 other: 


1 A. Wilson Baskar Educationist 


2 A.Mahaboob Batcha, Managing Trustee — Justice Bhagwati Foundation 


3 Aabid Surti Author/Cartoonist/Water Warrior 


4 Aashish Gokhale Researcher 


5 Aashita Dawer Associate Professor 


6 Abdul Mabood Snehi 


7 Abdul Rahman Instrumentation engineer 


8 Abhijeet Yadav Student 


9 Abhinav Mishra Student 


10 Absar Hazarika Retired Civil Servant 


11 Adil Tyabji Freelance Publishing Editor 


12 Adwait Madkaikar Independent Researcher 


13 Afaque Azad Sound engineer 


14 Aflatoon Editor,Samayik Varta 


15 Ahammed Zayan Philosophy Research Scholar 


16 Aishe Ghosh President, JNU Students’ Union 


17 Aishwarya Kothare Research Student 


18 Ajay Parasram Political scientist 


19 Ajit Patil Social and Political activist 


20 Ajmala Psychology Research scholar 


21 Ajmer Chouhan Science Communicator 


22 Akash Bhattacharya, Independent Academic, Ex-Faculty Azim Premji University 


23 Akriti Assistant Professor 


24 Albeena Shakil Academic 


25 Ali Haidar Laskar Retd Principal 


26 Alia Zaman Political science 


27 Alok narah Student 


28 Aman Legal Academic/Lawyer 


29 Ambar Ahmad Academic 


30 Ambreen Agha Faculty, Jindal 


31 Ameet Parameswaran Assistant Professor 


32 Amir Rizvi Designer 


33 Amit Sengupta Journalist 


34 Amitabha Basu Retirwd scientist, CSIR-NPL, New Delhi 


35 Amitabha Chakrabarti Consultant cardio Thoracic surgeon 


36 Amitava Das Service 


37 Amritha Sruthi Research Scholar 


38 Anand K. Sahay Columnist 


39 Ananya Vajpeyi Scholar and Writer 


40 Anil Singh Journalist 


41 Animesh Das Indian Federation of Trade Unions 


42 Anirban FAN 


43 Anita Cherian Academic 


44 Antara Datta Associate Professor 


45 Antara Dev Sen Journalist 


46 Anuja Mital Ecologist 


47 Aparajita Datta Wildlife biologist 


48 Aparna, President, Indian Federation of Trade Unions 


49 Aparna Sundar Political Scientist 


50 Apeksha Priyadarshini Ph.D Scholar, JNU 


51 Appandairaj Ananthakumar Student, JNU 


52 Apurbba Kumar Baruah, Teaching Assam Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research 


53 Ar Feroz Khan Architecture 


54 Arihant Kumar Maleri Association for Democratic Rights pb. 


55 Arjun Dasgupta Retired Executive 


56 Arkadip Mahapatra Crtical Care Technologist 


57 Arker creations Film maker/Digital creator 


58 Arman Hazarika Research Scholar 


59 Arul Singh Student 


60 Aruna Gnanadason Consultant 


61 Arunachalam Angappan Rtd 


62 Asad Abesi Business 


63 Asha Mishra All India People’s Science Network/BGVS 


64 Ashish Mital G.S. AIKMS 


65 Ashish Reddy Advocate 


66 Ashok Kumar Student, IIT Kanpur 


67 Ashok Kumar Pandey Author 


68 Ashwin Sreekumar Banking Professional 


69 Ashwin Thomas Student, St. Stephen’s College 


70 Ashwin Viswanathan Scientist 


71 Astha Chaudhary Research scholar 


72 Atif Ahmed Student 


73 Avinash Kumar Faculty, JNU 


74 Avishek Konar O.P. Jindal Global University 


75 Azra Caretaker 


76 B Rajasekhar Rahul Teacher 


77 Bhavna Sharma Social Activist 


78 Bhimrao Khetre Freelancer Artist 


79 Biplab AIPSN 


80 Brij Tankha Historian 


81 Brijesh V K Teacher, KSSP 


82 C P Chandrasekhar Former Professor JNU 


83 Carol Upadhya, Visiting Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore 


84 Cedric Prakash, Human Rights Reconciliation and Peace Activist/ Writer 


85 Chandni Mehta Jawaharlal Nehru University 


86 Charu Mishra Scientist 


87 Charu Singh Educator 


88 Chitra Harshvardhan Retired Professor from JNU, New Delhi 


89 Clifton D’ Rozario Lawyer 


90 Deepak Goswami AIPSN 


91 Deepti Bharti Social work 


92 Devathi Parashuram conservationist 


93 Devika Bordia Shiv Nadar Institute of Eminence 


94 Dhiman Chatterjee Faculty IITM 


95 Dhruv Raina Historian and philosopher of science 


96 Dipendra Nath Chakraborty Retired 


97 Divya Mudappa Wildlife scientist 


98 Divyajyoti Ganguly Wildlife Biologist 


99 Dr Mira Shiva Public Health Physician 


100 Dr Rizwan Rafeequi Arabic Literature 


101 Dr Sunilam, Ex MLA , KSS NAPM SKM , Samajwadi Samagam 


102 Dr Sushanta Kar Teaching 


103 Dr. G. Ramachandram, Professor of Political Science and retired Principal 


104 Dr. M. Geyanand, State president Jana Vignana Vedika, Andhra Pradesh 


105 Dr. Mihirlal Roy Science Activists, Bijnan Mancha – Tripura 


106 Dr. S. Anandha Krishna Raj International law 


107 Dr. S. Kanitha Retired Professor 


108 Dr. S. Vijaya Prabhu Assistant professor, NCT 


109 Dr. Salman Journalist 


110 Dr. Shikha Kapur Academic 


111 Dr. Soma Marla Principal scientist Genomics ICAR 


112 Dunu Roy Coordinator Hazards Centre 


113 Ekadh Ranganathan Wildlife Biologist 


114 Eric Pinto ANHAD Goa 


115 Faizan 


116 Fakhruddin Yusuf Bhai Jasupurawala 


117 Farah Naqvi Independent Writer and Activist 


118 Farai Divan Patel Ecologist 


119 Feroze Mithiborwala Freelance Writer 


120 Fiza Student 


121 Fozia Sodawala Writer 


122 Frazer Mascarenhas Sociologist 


123 Freny Manecksha Independent journalist 


124 G Arunima 


Historian, Kerala Council for Historical 




125 G. Muralidhar JVV AP 


126 Gautam I Menon, Professor 


127 Ghanshyam Shah, Independent Reasercher, formerly professor JNU 


128 Githa Hariharan Writer 


129 Goldie Osuri University of Warwick 


130 Gopinathan A N Pensioner 


131 Gopinathan VG KSSP/AIPSN activist 


132 Gowtham Raja Sathish Professor, Voorhees College 


133 Guruprasad Kar Indian Statistical Institute 


134 Habravysh PhD scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University 


135 Harbans Mukhia Historian 


136 Hasina Khan Gender activist 


137 Henri Tiphagne Human Rights Defenders Alert _India 


138 Himanshu Jawaharlal Nehru University 


139 Hoimi Mukherjee Jawaharlal Nehru University 


140 Ilan Kapoor Professor, York University, Toronto 


141 Imrana Qadeer Public health professional 


142 Imtiaz Quadri Political Scientist 


143 Inamul Hasan Social Activist 


144 Indira Public Health academic 


145 Indranee Dutta Retired Professor 


146 Indu Chandrasekhar Publisher 


147 Ira Raja University of Delhi 


148 Ishita Chatterjee Academic 


149 Ishupal Faculty, JGLS 


150 Jai Singh Service 


151 Jaideep Ahuja Engineer 


152 James Masih Hotel Construction Management 


153 Janhavi Rajan Designer 


154 Jasjit Social worker 


155 Jayaprakash cherupally Social work 


156 Jayati Ghosh economic 


157 John Cherian Journalist 


158 John Dayal Writer 


159 John Scaria Student 


160 Jose PI Advocate 


161 Joseph Mathai social worker 


162 Joseph PV KSSP 


163 K P Sarma Teacher’s 


164 K. Sudhir Architect/PUCL 


165 K. Trimurtulu Science activist/RTD.librarian 


166 Kajri Jain, art history/visual studies, University of Toronto 


167 Kalpana Kannabiran Sociologist 


168 Kamal Sarma Social activist 


169 Kamala Kempadoo sociologist 


170 Kamini Tankha Concerned Citizen 


171 Kanta Khurana Retd Associate Professor 


172 Karen Haydock retired TIFR/HBCSE 


173 Karthick Narayanan Linguist 


174 Karthik Teegalapalli 


175 Karuna DW Historian 


176 Kashish 


177 Kaveri Gill Political economist 


178 Kavita Srivastava Human Rights activist – PUCL 


179 Kedar Soni Educator 


180 Kishwer Retired Banker 


181 Komal Mohite Doctoral Candidate, McGill University 


182 Komal Saigal Individual 


183 Krishnakumr Retired professor 


184 Krittika Chakraborty, Comparative Literature, University of Hyderabad 


185 Kumar Prashant Gandhian activist 


186 Kunal Kumar Doctoral Research Scholar 


187 Lara Jesani People’s Union for Civil Liberties 


188 Lata Singh Associate Professor, JNU 


189 Lipi Bag Research scholar 


190 Lotika Singha Writer 


191 Lovish Gautam Private Service 


192 M Madhava Prasad Retired Professor, EFL U 


193 M. Gauhar Iqbal India Palestine Friendship Forum 


194 M. V. Ramana Professor 


195 M.Radhamurugesan Tamilnadu science forum 


196 Madhu Sahni Literary academic 


197 Madhusmita Rawooth Product Manager in Healthcare (Dozee) 


198 Madhusudan Katti Professor 


199 Mahesh Gaur Administrative Officer 


200 Maimoona Abbas Mollah Women’s rights activist 


201 Malaika Mathew Chawla wildlife biologist 


202 Malavika Kasturi Historian 


203 Manali Chakrabarti Academic Independent 


204 Manisha Biswas Student, Jawaharlal Nehru University 


205 Manisha Hans Social Activist 


206 Manorama Sharma Historian 


207 Marcia DCunha Teacher 


208 Mary Advocate 


209 Mary E John women’s studies 


210 Maya Krishna Rao Theatre Artist 


211 Md. Ali Shariff The Lifeline Foundation 


212 Meena Dhanda Philosopher 


213 Meera Samson Research 


214 Meera Sanghamitra, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) 


215 Meghna Roy anthropologist 


216 Minakshi Singh Activist 


217 Mini Mathew Lawyer 


218 Mira Sadgopal Medico Friend Circle 


219 Mohammed Alam Khan Business 


220 Mohammed Ali Private Service 


221 Mohan Dutta Professor of Communication 


222 Mohan Rao Public health 


223 Monika kshatriya Journalist 


224 Moushumi Basu Academic 


225 Mridupankhi Rajkumari PhD scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University 


226 Mrigank Indian Federation of Trade Unions 


227 Mritiunjoy Mohanty Economist 


228 Muhammed Kuttiyatle Free lance artist 


229 Muneer Mukhdoomi Service 


230 Munnee Sen Content writer 


231 Muralidharan, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) 


232 Mwajuma Alice Abok Human Resource Consultant 


233 N Sai Balaji Doctoral Student, JNU 


234 N. Mani Teaching 


235 N. Raghuram Biotechnologist 


236 N.K.Saraswathi Teacher 


237 Nabanita Samanta Doctoral Researcher, IIT Bombay 


238 Nadeem Khan India Palestine friendship forum 


239 Nageswar Y S JVV AP 


240 Naina Dayal Historian 


241 Naiyer Razzaqui Defence Pensioner 


242 Najibuddin Ahmed AIPSN, Assam ,Secretary 


243 Nalini Nayak, PGDAV College, Delhi University (Retd Associate Professor) 


244 Naman Murliwar Student 


245 Namita Khare researcher 


246 Nancy Vaz Retired Teacher 


247 Nandini Velho Scientist 


248 Nandita Narain, Associate Prof( Retd), Dept of Mathematics, St Stephen’s College, Delhi University 


249 Narender Nagarwal Professor University of Delhi 


250 Naveen Gaur University of Delhi 


251 Navsharan Singh 


252 Nazneen Activist 


253 Neeladri Bhattacharya, Professor (Rtd) Jawaharlal Nehru University 


254 Neelima Sharma Street theatre person 


255 Neeraj Malik University Professor 


256 Neerja Prasad Director administration 


257 Neha Student 


258 Neha Student 


259 Nidal Abuzuluf Director, JAI 


260 Nikita Climate Action Consultant 


261 Nirangkush Nath Political Activist 


262 Niyati Student 


263 Noor Enayat Publicist 


264 Noorjahan Abdul Hamid diwan Activities 


265 Nupur Asher Research Scholar 


266 Oishik Sircar legal scholar 


267 P A Azeez Freelance Academic 


268 P Jeganathan Wildlife Biologist 


269 Padma Kondiparthi Advocate 


270 Padmini Smetacek Editor 


271 Pamela Philipose Journalist 


272 Pariplab Chakraborty Visual artist and journalist 


273 Parnal Chirmuley German Studies 


274 Partho Sarothi Ray Molecular biologist 


275 Parvathy Rajendran Freelance Editor 


276 Parveez Asghar Retired 


277 Parwati, Housewife / Haryana Gyan Vigyan Samiti , Hisar 


278 Peggy Mohan Linguist 


279 Pia Sethi Conservation biologist 


280 Ponniah Rajamanickam All India People Science Network 


281 Poorvi Gupta Journalist 


282 Prabhu Mohapatra Historian 


283 Pradip Kumar Datta Retired Professor 


284 Pramod Ranjn Journalist 


285 Pranjali Bandhu, Researcher, South Asia Study Centre, Nilgiris 


286 Prateek Vijayavargia Research Scholar, JNU 


287 Pratiksha Baxi Sociologist 


288 Praveen Arora Media 


289 Praveen Jha Professor 


290 Preethi Krishnan Sociologist 


291 Priya Dharshini Delhi forum 


292 Priyamvada Iyer Business 


293 Priyanka Prakash NCF 


294 Qim Ahmed Designer 


295 R Nagesh Retired LIC Employee 


296 R. S. Vikal 


297 R. Vivekaanandhan College Professor (RTD.) 


298 Radha Kumar Writer and policy analyst 


299 Radhika Singha Retired 


300 Raghavendra Prasad President, IFTU 


301 Rahul Roy Indian Statistical Institute 


302 Rahul Varman Academic 


303 Rajamathangi S Linguist 


304 Rajarshi Dasgupta Political scientist 


305 Rajat Kumar Sonkar, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Delhi 


306 Rajeev Singha Doctor 


307 Rajender Kumar Theatre activiest 


308 Rajni Palriwala Professor of Socioloy 


309 Raju K Retired Professor 


310 Rakesh Theatre activist 


311 Ramakrishnan C Educationist 


312 Ramani Atkuri Independent Public Health Physician 


313 Ramanujam Ragavan Retired govt servant 


314 Ramesh Chander Retired officer 


315 Ramesh Chander, Retired Principal / Haryana Gyan Vigyan Samiti 


316 Ramesh Dixit, Professor in Political science (retired) Lucknow University. 


317 Ramneek Singh Playwright, Theatre Director, Teacher 


318 Rana Student 


319 Ranjani Mazumdar Cinema Studies 


320 Rashmi Gera 


321 Rashmi Pant Assoc. Prof. Retd. 


322 Ratheesan T M Comon Service centre 


323 Ravi Duggal, Independent Sociologist and Public Health Researcher 


324 Ravi Srivastava Research 


325 Ravinder Banyal Scientist 


326 Raynah Marise ICWM 


327 Raza Kazmi, Conservationist, Researcher, Wildlife Historian, Writer 


328 Razia Quresh Bootwala Home maker 


329 Reshma PhD Physics, University of Hyderabad 


330 Richa Minocha Academic 


331 Rita Manchanda Peace & Conflict studies 


332 Ritu Ngapnon Farmer, Architect 


333 Rohan D’Souza Professor, ASAFAS, Kyoto University 


334 Rohini Muthuswami Professor 


335 Rohit Azad Economist 


336 Rohit Kumar Student 


337 Rohith P English Literature 


338 Ronak M Soni Physicist, University of Cambridge 


339 Roop Rekha Verma Social activist 


340 Rukaiya Joshi Professor 


341 Runa Sarkar IIM Calcutta 


342 Rupa Mehta Media Professional and Social Activist 


343 Ruth Manorama Social work Professional 


344 Rutuja Dhamale Science Educator 


345 S .Mohana AIPSN EC member, Social Activist 


346 S Viswanathan Watcher 


347 S. G Dani Mathematician 


348 S. Usha Professor 


349 S.Krishnaswamy 


Retired Senior Professor ex Madurai, Kamaraj University 


350 Sabiha Shariff Retired 


351 Sachidanand Sinha Professor Retd 


352 Sachin Bhusari Citizen 


353 Sachin N Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi 


354 Sadiq Zafar Architect, Urban Policy Researcher 


355 Saeed Ahmad Historian 


356 Sahildeep Singh Student/Research Scholar 


357 Sailen Bhattacharyya Social Worker 


358 Samarth M Dahiwale 


359 Samik Dasgupta, Assistant Professor, Ananda Chandra College, University of North Bengal 


360 Samuel Asir Raj Professor 


361 Sandhya Srinivasan Indian Journal of Medical Ethics 


362 Sangeeta Social Activist, HGVS 


363 Sangeetha K Assistant Professor/ A M Jain College 


364 Sangita Das Associate Professor 


365 Sanjaya Gupta Banker and independent consultant 


366 Sanjit Chatterjee IISc 


367 Sankari Rajappon CPI(M) 


368 Sarah Actor 


369 Saraswathi PUCL 


370 Saravanan V Ph.D Candidate, JNU 


371 Satbir Nagal Science Activists 


372 Satish Deshpande Sociologist 


373 Satish Kumar Singh Senior Advisor 


374 Satish Suryan Journalist 


375 Satyajit Freelance editor 


376  Sedef Arat-Koc Politics professor / Toronto Metropolitan University 


377 Seema Mustafa Journalist 


378 Sehar Kidwai Production designer 


379 Selvyn Jussy Linguist 


380 Shabnam Hashmi Social Activist 


381 Shafeef Ahmed Phd student 


382 Shafeeq Mahajir Lawyer 


383 Shalini D Student of History 

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