Dear Editor, As academicians and intellectuals all over the country have come forward to extend support to the students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), we, some of the alumni and staff of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), would like to express our concern regarding the recent incident that took place in the premises of JNU on January 5. We consider it our ethical and moral responsibility to do so because this is an assault against not just mere individuals but against the very fabric of “personal liberty” guaranteed by the Constitution to its citizens. A pattern has been observed in the last few months where young students, who should have been applauded for their progressive mindset and outspokenness, are being met with petty vindictiveness by those they dare criticise. JNU is one the most esteemed universities that has made invaluable contributions to the country. It is a travesty that students are being singled out and the fury of muscle-power is being unleashed upon them. What we are forced to infer is a calculated attempt to dissuade anyone who dares to disagree with the Government at the helm. Instead of having a dialogue with the students, the state machinery seems to be focussed on branding the students with various monikers like “anti-nationals”, “urban-naxals” and “tukde-tukde gang”. Attempts like these seek to pit the people against the students and serves to distract people’s attention from the Government’s own shortcomings in fulfilling what it had promised. We also consider it our duty as people associated closely with journalism to admit that we are ashamed of the way a section of Indian media has led the fray in hate-mongering and in casting patriotic students as enemies of the State. At best, this section of the media can be called “inept” and to be more honest, “complicit.” It boggles our minds and outrages us to think what the Government/administration seeks to achieve by persecuting its own students. For whose development will this system work when every voice that dares to disagree with it is being silenced? Who will take this country forward when its own leaders have destroyed potential minds? How can young minds hope to build a better future for the country when all the nation’s resources are being used to mislead people by bombarding them with constant propaganda? We are also offended by many eminent personalities, who have recently had the audacity of advising students to stick to their syllabi and exams while they themselves continue to spill the venom of communalism in the society every day and support bigotry, sometimes by being silent about it and at other times by drafting laws to legitimise it. As taxpayers who are, or have been, part of the country’s academia, we suggest that students will be able to focus better on their studies when leaders are better focussed on leading the country, rather than on dividing it and fulfilling their illbegotten ideological dreams. The powers-that-be will do well to remember that the current as well as future students, who are witnessing brutal assault and persecution, will be tomorrow’s journalists, newspersons, civil servants, engineers and entertainers. Would it be wise of it to alienate the future of this country for some misguided notions? Instead, it should address grievances from the distant past, imaginary or otherwise. We hope that our beloved country will emerge out of these dark and chaotic times with its secular and intellectual principles intact. In fact, stronger than ever. We would like to request the Government as also the people to learn from world history and try to rise above vindictive agenda in favour of aiming at a harmonious and peaceful coexistence. As students at JNU continue to struggle, they have been a source of inspiration and make us feel proud to be citizens of India. Vande Mataram Alumni and staff, IIMC.
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