Foreign academics supporting the JNU students’ protest received threatening letters and emails.
Rohan D’ Souza, a professor at the graduate school of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University, said, “Many of my colleagues abroad who have signed statements in support of JNU have received generic letters threatening them.”
One letter written from Toronto was titled ‘Direct response to your stupidity in signing that solidarity statement with Kanhaiya Kumar’.
“I am writing you directly to highlight your stupidity and naivete in signing that solidarity statement with the JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and others charged with sedition earlier this month,” it said.
The letter even dubs the academics as forces “breaking India”.
“It seems clear that you and the other academics were in a big hurry to blame the university, the police, and even the government of India, in fact anybody but Kanhaiya Kumar and his student union organisers. Yes you were foolish and naïve. There will be consequences for signing this statement,” the letter said.
Over 400 academics from international universities, including Columbia, Yale, Harvard and Cambridge, came out in support of the JNU students.
A joint statement signed by 455 academicians from global ties, said: “JNU stands for a vital imagination of the space of the university…It is this critical imagination that the current establishment seeks to destroy. And we know that this is not a problem for India alone”.
The academics, some JNU alumni, said they watched with “extreme concern” the situation unfolding at JNU.