Harvard University Students Hold a Rally in Solidarity with JNU

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Harvard University students rally to express their support for JNU students (Photo: Swati Gupta)

CAMBRIDGE, MA—A group of Harvard University students organized a rally Thursday evening to express their solidarity with the students of New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University which has been in turmoil since Feb. 12 when the Indian government ordered the police to enter the campus and arrest a student leader. (Lead:adds rally)

Harvard University students rally to express their support for JNU students (Photo: Swati Gupta)
Harvard University students rally to express their support for JNU students (Photo: Swati Gupta)

About 35 Harvard students and supporters joined together in freezing cold in solidarity with JNU at Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA.

“We stood in support of JNU,” said Chandrashekhar Tibrewal, a Boston resident and a former student leader in JNU who attended the rally. “It personally made me happier.”

Chandrashekhar Tibrewal
Chandrashekhar Tibrewal

In an earlier interview prior to the rally, Tibrewal had said that the Indian government is trying to impose Hindu nationalism by cracking down on students.

“It is not about JNU anymore. I think the country is in serious danger of losing everything and all the democratic systems that have been built over 50 years,” Tibrewal to INDIA New England News. “The current Indian government is out to silence all intelligent conversations in the country. They want to impose Hindu nationalism all across.”

The rally by the Harvard University students was held at 4:00 PM at Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA, to express solidarity with the students and faculty of JNU.

They said that the Indian government ordered the police to enter one the most reputed institutes of higher education in the country and arrest a student. The charge against him was “anti-national sloganeering” and he was arrested under sedition laws.

Harvard students supporting JNU students (Photo: Swati Gupta)
Harvard students supporting JNU students (Photo: Swati Gupta)

“This incident reflects the current government’s authoritarian tendencies to stifle dissent in a thriving democracy. The government and some sections of the media have reduced the discourse to one of nationalism. That is not the debate,” Harvard University students organizing the rally said on their event page. “The current debate is about freedom of speech and autonomy of institutions. As the largest democracy, India was founded on the bedrock of freedom of expression and tolerance. While we may vehemently disagree with what the other has to say, we will fight for the other’s right to say it with equal vehemence.”

Meanwhile, thousands of students from universities and colleges across New Delhi staged a massive protest here on Thursday to condemn the arrest of JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges.

The students, who massed near Mandi House in the heart of Delhi, demanded the immediate release of Kanhaiya Kumar, who was sent to judicial custody till March 2 by a court on Wednesday.

The students from Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Milia Islamia took part in the protest, shouting slogans like ‘Janwad pe hamla band karo’ (End attacks on democracy).

Delhi Police arrested Kanhaiya Kumar on February 12 for allegedly raising anti-India slogans at an event in the JNU campus. He has denied the charge.

Several teachers, lawyers, activists, theatre artists and journalists also took part in the protest to express their solidarity with the agitating students.

Police say anti-India slogans were raised at the campus meeting organised to mark the the hanging of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) co-founder Maqbool Bhat.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Hatsup Intellectual community! I am from Kashmir & I knew well about the reality of Indian democracy. Don’t say anything about democratic India, as how you can a country a democratic, when it denied the rights of almost 1.30 million people. When it’s forces on the regular basis killing the civilian s on the behalf to get rewards from their masters. Where the real face of democracy is still unknown. Where more than 6 lakh people were massacred by Indian forces, where their are 1.20 lakh orphans..etc . So don’t say anything about india’s democracy. We kashmiris know better what kind of democracy India have?

  2. This shows utter lack of nationalism amongst the indian-origin stdents of Harvard and total opportunism on the part of others. Will the US Government turn a blind-eye, if the same set of students were to hold a rally “in praise of Osama Bin Laden” and if these guys “professed to fight till the destruction of the USA”? The JNU incidents are being twisted out of shape by a biased media – and groups like these at Harvard, are happy to get the press-space. Shame.

    • As the photograph shows, it is NOT all students of Indian origin; some are NOT students. Of course, some are students of Indian origin, and they do NOT represent the entire Harvard student community of Indian origin. Such students are everywhere (including in India)

  3. This shows the lack of understanding by these protesters. I dare them to raise slogan of separating California or any other state from the US of A. Where were these guys when Osama was being hunted down? It is fashionable to support freedom of speech by so called sickular (irrespective of the facts whether that speech is asking for destruction of the country).

    I am sad to see this kind of support by the folks who conveniently ignore the hatred speeches by these JNU folks.

  4. Unfortunately, the tendency to promote fundamentalism, communalism, fanaticism, fazism and crony capitalism are in place In the name of god,religion, nationalism, patriotism, growth and development and, all our liberal , secular, socialistic values for which we are proud of are destroyed systematically.All those who raise voice against this are treated as anti national, seditious, atheist and anarchists and are attacked, manhandled and put behind bars by whipping narrow,parochial, religious, nationalist feelings. To make money and to get power by hook or crook all good things, tradition and our heritage are distorted and defined narrowly to whip up passion,hatred and division in the society. Taking advantage of corruption, degeneration and other weaknesses of the congress and also the inabilities of the left and other parties to establish their strength, our democracy is stifled with ulterior motives and for short term benefits.It is very important to fight against such fundamentalist,fascist, fanatic and crony capitalistic onslaughts unitedly to save our democracy and to protect our Nation. Indian Philosophy is based on the concept of ‘vasudaiva kudumbakam’ where we adopt inclusive pluralistic approach in which we respect all religions, all nations and co exist in harmony with nature and progress towards the path of sustainable growth and development . Socialism, secularism , democracy , equity and equal opportunities for all are our basic ethos and we should protect these values at all cost for the Nation and the world.Though National pride and prestige are very important , we should not curb the freedom of our centres of excellence such as JNU as cosmopolitan , freethinking international institution beyond the boundaries of narrow ,parochial, regional, religious, nationalistic, capitalistic feelings.

  5. Tibrewal is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. He shamelessly equates arrest of a person who supports a terrorist convicted by supreme court of India to imposition of hindu nationalism by government of India. I am sure tibrewal is suffering from delusions of a leftist.

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