Call for Collaboration and Participation
Over the past thirty months or so, a peculiar attack on Indian educational campuses has been underway. Post neo-liberalisation in early 90s, Indian State has actively pushed for privatisation of higher education. In doing so it has diluted the fundamental focus of education from its purpose of shaping an active citizenry to that of building a workforce to serve the requirements of a market-based economy.
However, what we have seen over the past three years, is a vindictive aggravation of attacks on not just the funding structures of premier publicly funded institutions of higher learning, but a concerted effort to saffronise, homogenise and corporatise such centres of learning. Our universities have long been a repository of young and budding intellectual opinion. But today their charter of constitutional values and vision of non-discrimination and equality are under attack.
The battery of attacks includes systematic cuts in funding, use of various mechanisms to silence any opposition and dissent and is supported by free impunity to right wing ideologists within and outside campuses to suppress alternative politics.
The State machinery is being used to mount vicious attacks on freedoms of opinion, association, assembly and dissent within structures of higher education. Students and faculty that refuse to toe a certain line of authoritarian ideology are being violated, persecuted and ultimately silenced. Students, faculty and other staff are being constantly harassed and threatened by falsely implicating them in fabricated legal cases, arbitrary administrative actions, physical assault and intimidation by right-wing groups, State sponsored targeted media campaign to term dissent as ‘anti-national’ etc. State has also on several instances deliberately charged students with the out-dated law of Sedition (Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860). State loyalists are being systematically imposed at the helm of institutions to clamp down on dissenting voices. Within Universities, we have seen a swell of response in the form of student movements against the cloak of homogeneity that is being thrust upon them. However, it is perhaps now time for a larger public conversation and confrontation with respect to what can only be referred to as a broad agenda of the current State to wipe out spaces that cherish differing opinions and attempt an authoritarian control over Indian intellectual life.
Considering this as our primary objective, the People’s Commission on Shrinking Democratic Space (PCSDS) through its Permanent People’s Tribunal on Shrinking Democratic Space (PPTSDS) has called for a “People’s Tribunal on Attack on Educational Institutions in India” on April 11 – 13, 2018 at Constitution Club of India, New Delhi. The jury for the proposed Tribunal, will comprise of experts, academics, senior lawyers, senior journalists and other distinguished members.
PCSDS solicits testimonies from across the country for deposition and presentation before the Jury Panel and urges you to collaborate and participate in this tribunal to make it a success. The tribunal will be organised solely on the contributions raised from concerned citizens in India.