The graduate employees of Temple University, alongside observers throughout the world, have looked on with shock and outrage at the shameful repression of Indian student activists protesting the recently-passed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). We believe the defense of academic freedom, the freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly and association, and the basic right to personal safety are universal causes common to all. We condemn the use of disproportionate force and brutality by police and paramilitary forces on college campuses and applaud the perseverance of student activists despite these dangerous circumstances. They are an inspiration to us all. The Temple University Graduate Students’ Association (TUGSA) stands in passionate and unwavering solidarity with our fellow students.
The CAA is a recently-passed amendment to the 1955 Citizenship Act which provides a selective route to citizenship for non-Muslim religious minorities in several neighboring countries. The controversy surrounding this amendment relates to its connection to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) which places onerous requirements of documentation for many Indians to retain their citizenship rights. Activists and legal experts believe that these two laws taken together will lay the groundwork for the mass revocation of citizenship rights for Muslims in India. Student protesters opposing these policy changes have been subjected to organized state violence, the shutdown of internet access, and blanket bans on the right to assemble and protest.
The ongoing efforts by the Indian government to deny citizenship rights to Muslims is an outrage, and their repression of student protesters is utterly reprehensible. We send our support and encouragement to these brave students and hope that, were we in the same position, we would do the same. We affirm our support for the anti-CAA, anti-NRC student protesters of India. We call on each and every one of our members, the Temple University community, and all the people of the world to raise their voices in opposition to the CAA/NRC and in support of our friends and colleagues who are leading this fight.
With love and solidarity,
The Temple University Graduate Students’ Association