Umar Khalid, a well-known student activist and post-Grad student at the Centre for Historical Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University was threatened after protesting the execution of a Kashmiri militant. The school refused to accept his Ph.D. submission. He was accused of sedition and threatened with a guy by local nationalists. CCS has written the Prime Minister requesting protection of Khalid and assurance that his rights to free expression and free association be upheld. Additionally, CCS has requested that he be allowed to further his studies and complete his Ph.D without further intimidation or harassment.
Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011
Dear Prime Minister Modi:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our grave concern for the safety of Umar Khalid, a well-known Muslim student activist and post-graduate at the Centre for Historical Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), who has faced threats and intimidation from Hindu nationalist vigilantes and, to a certain extent, local government officials and his own university.
After an event in February 2016 at which Umar Khalid and others protested the execution of a Kashmiri militant, the school, in July 2018, refused to accept his Ph.D. submission. He has been accused of “sedition” by local Delhi officials and commentators. Furthermore, in August, he was threatened with a gun by nationalists who have since been arrested after they openly bragged of their assault on a video that went viral. In December, it was reported that formal charges of “sedition”, relating to the February 2016 incident, would be filed soon.
We are concerned that Umar is under serious duress, and could soon be prosecuted, for his non-violent political activism. We write to encourage your government to fulfill its obligation to protect him from further violence and intimidation. Umar Khalid is a human rights defender, having engaged in peaceful activities in support of the rights of workers and women, transgender rights, and the rights of Muslims in India.
Umar Khalid’s actions should be respected and protected, not vilified and prosecuted. His basic human rights – to free expression and free association – must be upheld. We urge you to ensure that he is allowed to pursue his peaceful political activism, and his academic studies, without further intimidation or legal harassment.
Thank you for your attention to this serious matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Ambassador Navtej Sarna
Embassy of India
2107 Massachusetts Avenue. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202 939 7000 | Fax: 202 265 4351
Contact Form: https://goo.gl/wvDC5i
Twitter: @NavtejSarna @IndianEmbassyUS