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JNU row: Stand up against pressure, Harvard professor tells VC

Harvard University Professor Arthur Kleinman has adviced JNU vice chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar to stand up against government pressure, warning him failure to do so will “redound” on JNU in the most negative way.

“I am deeply sad and shocked about the gross infringement of freedom of speech among your students. The charge of sedition lodged with a student leader and the police action at JNU are violations of basic academic rights, freedoms which I have always associated with JNU,” Arthur Kleinman said in an email to the V-C.

“You must stand up to governmental and public pressure and protect the sacred academic right of students to speak out critically in protest. Failure to do so will redound on JNU in the most negative way internationally. Now is the time to act,” he added.

Jawaharlal Nehru University is caught in a row over an event in the campus against the hanging of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, where “anti-national” slogans were alleged to have been raised.

The varsity’s students union president Kanhaiya Kumar, is in judicial custody in a sedition case in connection with the February 9 event. Various foreign scholars have been conveying to the VC their disappointment at shock at the turn of events at the varsity.