Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

Open letter in support of the students and faculty of JNU, New Delhi

Der offene Brief ist auch als Petition auf veröffentlicht, es wäre sehr schön, wenn Studierende und Lehrende die Aktion unterstützen und diese Petition mit unterzeichnen könnten - klicken Sie einfach auf den unten abgebildeten Brief, um zur Online-Petition zu gelangen. Auch wenn es bereits eine Vielzahl an Stellungnahmen und Protestschreiben gibt, betonen Kolleg_innen von der JNU, dass in der aktuellen politischen Situation jede Unterstützung zählt. 


Berlin, 23.02.2016

To the Vice-Chancellor

Jawaharlal Nehru University

New Delhi 110067


Dear Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar,

As scholars of South Asia and as members of institutions that try to promote academic cooperation with colleagues and institutions in India, we are writing to express our deep concern and shock at the unfolding of events at JNU. The unwarranted arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, president of the JNU Students’ Union, the search of students’ hostel rooms without warrants, suspension of and sedition charges against a number of students, and a de-facto siege by police forces all reflect a serious affront to academic and political freedoms. We stand in solidarity with the students and teachers at JNU, who, even in the face of aggression, are attempting to resolve the conflict in a peaceful manner.

As scholars of various fields of knowledge in Berlin-based institutions such as Humboldt Universität, Freie Universität, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies at Freie Universität (BGSMCS), Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), the Forum for Transregional Studies, we have long-standing and intellectually fruitful exchanges with JNU colleagues, students and faculty.

Among these is a rotating chair program, sponsored by the Indian embassy in Germany, under which colleagues from JNU have held positions in Berlin. JNU’s Social Science Studies Department is a partner for the Humboldt Universität’s MA program in ‘Global Studies’ and there are regular student exchanges taking place under this program. The Modern India in German Archives project (MIDA), which is sponsored by the German research foundation has a senior JNU faculty member on their advisory board. There is a long-standing cooperation between the Center for the History of Emotions of the Max Planck Institute and the Forum Transregionale Studien with scholars from JNU’s History Department and Social Science Departments.

In addition, our academic interactions are enriched by regular visits of JNU’s exchange students, guest scholars, research fellows as well as the vibrant participation of JNU scholars in lectures, conferences - and vice versa, as well as joint publications of scholars in Berlin and JNU.

The current persecution of peaceful protestors and prevailing climate of fear is detrimental to any free academic exchange and the outstanding academic contributions that JNU scholars have made to various fields in the past.

We call on you today to determinedly protect the legal rights of students, faculty, and staff, and preserve the academic freedom and freedom of speech that has ensured JNU’s place among the foremost institutions of higher learning in India and its excellent reputation abroad.

Politically motivated interference in the affairs of the campus and its academic and deliberative activities undermine the very basis of JNU’s internationally recognised excellence.



Dr. Sanaa Alimia, BGSMCS, Freie Universität, Berlin and ZMO, Berlin
Muhammed Niyas Ashraf, BGSMCS, Freie Universität, Berlin
Dr. Anandita Bajpai, ZMO / MIDA, Berlin
Sadia Bajwa, Humboldt Universität, Berlin
Alexander Benatar, Humboldt Universität, Berlin
Dr. Georg Berkemer, Humboldt Universität Berlin
Stephan Beutner, Humboldt Universität, Berlin
Dr. Antia Mato Bouzas, ZMO, Berlin
Dr. Frank Busjahn, Humboldt Universität, Berlin
Lisa Caviglia, Coordinator of the Global Studies Program, Humboldt Universität, Berlin
Dr. Maria Framke, formerly Humboldt Universität Berlin, currently University of Rostock
Maya Ganesh, Leuphana University, Lunebürg / Director of Applied Research, Tactical Tech Collective, Berlin
Thimo Gawlik, Humboldt Universität, Berlin
Dr. Bettina Graef, Managing Director, BGSMCS, Freie Universität, Berlin
Dr. Omar Kasmani, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthroplogy, Freie Universität, Berlin
Dr. Georges Khalil, Academic Coordinator, Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin
Dr. Razak Khan, formerly Max Planck Institute for Human Development and BGSMCS, Frei Universität, Berlin; currently University of Göttingen
Anne Kukuczka, Frei Universität/ZMO, Berlin
Dr. Kedar Kulkarni, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin
Dr. Heike Liebau, ZMO, Berlin
Dr. Hannelore Lötzke, Humboldt Universität, Berlin
Dr. Garima Mohan, Global Public Policy Institute (GPPI), Berlin
PD (emi) Dr. Joachim Oesterheld, Humboldt Universität, Berlin
Mohammed Swalih Errata Parambil, BGSMCS, Freie Universität, Berlin
Prof. Dr. Margrit Pernau, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin
Ulrike Peters, ZMO, Berlin
Imke Rajamani, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin
Prof. Dr. Boike Rehbein, Humboldt Universität, Berlin
PD Dr. Dietrich Reetz, ZMO
Dr. Franziska Roy, ZMO, Berlin
Larissa Schmid, ZMO
Prof. Dr. Nadja-Christina Schneider, Humboldt Universität, Berlin
Mag. Frederik Schröer, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin
Dr. Salma Siddique, BGSMCS, Freie Universität, Berlin
Dr. Nitin Sinha, ZMO, Berlin
Theresa Suski, Humboldt Universität, Berlin
Prof.Dr. Torsten Tschacher, Freie Universität, Berlin
Dr. Melitta Waligora, Humboldt Universität, Berlin
Eva Wildhardt, Berlin


Link zur Online-Petition auf