Author: Statements & Letters

May 12, 2021 /

11 May 2021: For more than a year Karbi and Adivasi farmers of Mikir Bamuni Grant village in Nagaon district have been fighting to protect their lands, forcibly taken over by Azure Power Forty Private Limited for building a solar power plant. The land in question was cleared and cultivated by the ancestors of these farmers for generations.

September 11, 2020 /

We, 12 staff of The Shillong Times, stand in solidarity with the three senior journalists—EM Jose (News Editor), Nabamita Mitra (Features Editor) and Dipankar Roy (Executive Editor)— whose services were terminated for “Covid-19 generated reasons” with effect from September 1, when they were in quarantine, although they were served the letters only on September 7; no prior intimation was given to them…

August 27, 2020 /

It will be soon two years since the raid of August 28th when five additional persons including Sudha Bharadwaj was arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Sudha Bharadwaj’s health condition is now showing signs of stress. Her daughter, Maaysha, was particularly upset over it. A few friends and those closely acquainted with her work got together to understand and decided to collectively raise the matter.

July 31, 2020 /

We, the undersigned former and current students of Prof Hany Babu M.T., condemn his arrest by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday and stand in firm solidarity with him. Prof. Babu is a noted academic, a well known anti-caste activist, and a member of the committee formed for the defence of G.N. Saibaba, a former Delhi University professor who is over 90% disabled, and wheelchair bound. Prof. Babu has maintained his innocence since the illegal raid at his Noida apartment last year in September by Pune police. The raid, which was conducted without a warrant, resulted in the Pune Police confiscating Prof. Babu’s laptop, mobile phones, two booklets printed for the G.N. Saibaba defence committee and two books which are publicly available in bookstores and libraries. The nature of his alleged ‘crime’ remains unclear because the NIA’s warrant is, in our opinion, deliberately vague with clearly fabricated accusations. According to news reports, the ‘evidence’ that has apparently led to Prof Babu’s arrest was based off of an e folder on his hard disk. He was, however, not given a hash value for his laptop.

July 17, 2020 /

Writing the northeast, often leads to misrepresentation, distortion, misinformation of the places, peoples and resources. These are not merely floating around in popular mentality, these stereotypes are consciously constructed and maintained in films and also in academic discourses. This particular Call for Paper (CFP) for a journal issue, entitled “Assam: A Citizenship Battleground” (Cached link)to be published under University of York project entitled Rethinking Civil Society: History, Society, Critique caught our attention and quite a few of us discussed it and decided to address the issue.
The result was a statement of concern, which is not about a closed academic discussion but more about placing the northeast of India, Assam in particular in a more complex frame of reference for a global readership. This was also making people of the region aware of the developments taking place in academic circles in the West. The NRC and CAA has captured a lot of global press and as it happens, the margins get distorted in the generalised narrative.

April 11, 2020 /

The sudden and untimely demise of Kaka D. Iralu amidst the unending Naga Peace Talk has left a void in the Naga discourse and it’s one big family spanning across the states of Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Myanmar. A towering figure who spoke truth to power and questioned the state and institutional power to reflect on its excesses on the Naga people. He is the author of “The Naga Saga”, “Nagaland and India: The Blood and the Tears: A Historical Account of the Fifty-Two year Indo Naga War and the Story of Those who were never allowed to tell it”, and “Uncovering the Political Lies that Have Covered Indo-Naga History from the 1940s to the Present”, and numerous writings on Naga Nationalism and social issues faced by the Naga society. His decision to self-publish his books remains an act of resistance and in academia it precisely animates the decolonial methodology. His selfless contribution towards documenting the histories, narrative and experiences of the Naga peoples despite numerous constraints have shaped understandings beyond academia.

April 11, 2020 /

We, the undersigned, are writing to you to express our deep concern about the arbitrary arrest of the human rights activists and peasant leaders Pranab Doley and Soneshwar Narah, in Golaghat District of Assam, on April 6, 2020.

The circumstances under which they were arrested, imprisoned without an immediate bail makes the intention behind their arrest extremely suspicious and their arrest itself a violation of basic human rights and an attempt to suppress voices which are raising serious issues in these difficult times brought about by Covid-19.

April 9, 2020 /

The Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) calls on all democratic organisations and individuals to come together and condemn the denial of relief for Prof. Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha, stand in solidarity with all such voices of democracy and demand the immediate release of all political prisoners. Our unity at this time of crisis is all the more urgent and necessary for our silence in the time of injustice is bound to render us voiceless in the days to come. Let us unite and demand

Immediate reprieve from arrest of Prof. Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha.
Immediate release of all political prisoners lodged in jails all over the country, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Immediate release of all under-trial prisoners and persons convicted on minor charges to decongest prisons.
2. Action (with restraint in light of COVID-19) against the perpetrators of violence in the Bhima Koregaon case including Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote.
Repeal of all draconian laws like UAPA, NSA and PSA, among others.

March 25, 2020 /

In this time of crisis, the government of Assam must rise to the occasion and abide by its duty to the people. Alongside the restrictions on movement and public gathering, the government must also fulfil its responsibilities towards the economically vulnerable sections of society by safeguarding their health and economic wellbeing.

March 9, 2020 /

The deaths of Lurshai Hynniewta, Rupsang Dewan, and Ussaduddin, as well as various attacks and stabbings shows a complete lack of remorse and lack of understanding over the value of life. We should not be afraid to speak the truth, debate and defend our arguments by finding common ground. We need to stand together to end the hatred, it only brings loss and death. Enough is enough.

March 2, 2020 /

In a time when people from northeastern states of India are subjected to racism in the wake of Coronavirus fear, there is epistemic racism in academia against a Rongmei Naga scholar, Richard Kamei for writing an email to Prof. Noam Chomsky to update him about the discourse of citizenship unfolding in India and the discontents it has generated within indigenous tribal peoples of the northeastern region due to the precarity of their position. An open letter written by Suraj Gogoi and Angshuman Choudhury on 20th February 2020 to Prof. Chomsky in objection and as a counter to Kamei’s letter can only be considered as petty and callous as much as it is misleading.