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India: SAHMAT Statement on attack on Central University of Haryana

3 October 2016

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Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust
29, Feroze Shah Road,New Delhi-110001
Telephone- 23381276/ 23070787
e-mail-sahmat8 at

Date 3.10.2016

That the staging of a play written by the renowned writer and activist, Mahasweta Devi, would lead to questions, inquiry and ‘trouble’ for two teachers of the English department of the Central University of Haryana, Snehsata and Manoj Kumar is very hard to digest and must be condemned in the strongest of terms.

The University has “apologised” to activists of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) but its activists continue to hound the administration and students/teachers involved with the staging of Draupadi by Mahasweta Devi. The misplaced and entirely ridiculous charge is that a scene in the play is ‘anti-national’, which is the new catch-all phrase to bundle all those even slightly opposed to the BJP-RSS or even holding independent views.

We are shocked by this hounding of the late Mahasweta Devi, who died recently and was praised by even senior BJP leaders as they condoled her death. The BJP President Mr Amit Shah went to the extent of saying; “Her contribution to Indian literature is peerless, Rudali and Hajar Churashir Maa were my personal favorites.”

This is again an attack by the ABVP on the freedom of expression in a central University. We condemn this latest assault and express solidarity with the professors being hounded.

Vivan Sundaram
Prabhat Patnaik
Mihir Bhattacharya
Sashi Kumar
Ram Rahman
Sukumar Muralidharan
Abhilasha Kumari
Sania Hashmi
Akila Jayaraman
Amar Farooqui
Amol Saghar
Anil Bhatti
Anil Chandra
Archana Prasad
Arjun Dev
Arpana Caur
Badri Raina
Biswamoy Pati
C P Chandrasekhar
Chanchal Chauhan
Chandana Mathur
D N Jha
Dinesh Abrol
Indira ArjunDev
Indira Chandrasekhar
Jauhar Kanungo
Jayati Ghosh
K M Shrimali
Lata Singh
Lima Kanungo
M K Raina
Madangopal Singh
Madhu Prasad
Malini Bhattacharya
N K Sharma
Nina Rao
Parthiv Shah
MMP Singh
Praveen Jha
Romi Khosla
S Kalidas
Saif Mahmood
Sohail Hashmi
Utsa Patnaik
Virendra Saini
Vishwamohan Jha
Imrana Qadeer
Jawrimal Parakh
Rekha Awasthi