New Delhi: The ripples of the Delhi University violence that stoked a debate on free speech in India, have now reached foreign shores. Largely critical of RSS-affiliated ABVP, a large number of students, studying in USA, UK and across Europe, have come out in solidarity with the DU.
As a mark of resistance, they have changed their profile pictures on Facebook — a step that LSR student Gurmehar Kaur had taken, igniting a nation-wide debate on free speech. A series of events have been lined up across continents — in Oxford, Columbia University, Durham University and University of Trier in Germany to lodge protest against the DU fracas.
“In Solidarity with the students of Delhi University, who have bravely resisted the fascist forces at their gates, and their valiant teachers who, despite being dragged through the streets, beaten and bruised, stood their ground to protect the universal values of democracy.
“Separated by time and space, we could not be there when you they were attacked. But history connects us,” says a joint statement put out by these students, mostly enrolled in MPhil and Masters courses.
Debojit Thakur, a research scholar in University of Trier and one of the organisers, said the objective of these events was to stand behind those fighting “back home”.
“We-in our individual capacities as students, researchers and academicians and also as a collective of sorts-want to reiterate that they are not alone in this struggle to reclaim academic spaces,” he said.
As part of the initiative, university staff and students are photographing themselves with solidarity posters and messages and posting them on all available social media platforms.
The issue figured in the ongoing Oxford Radical Forum, described as a “festival” of radical ideas and Culture, while a talk has been organised on the same at Columbia University tomorrow.
A march will also be organised in the Durham University to condemning the alleged rape threats to Kaur and to highlight the need of spaces for free speech and political dissent.