Need to maintain constitutional and academic freedoms
“Recent developments threaten the study of different ways of life”

We, as sociologists and concerned citizens, feel extremely concerned about the lynching at Dadri, and the murders of scholars and thinkers like M M Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and others, and wish to register our strong protest.

We are not just shocked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s late response, but also by the implications of the victim-blaming statement he made. To say that ‘Hindus and Muslims should not fight each other but should fight poverty instead’ puts the onus for peace and fighting poverty entirely on civil society and communities and absolves the state of any responsibility for both. As Prime Minister, he should have asserted that the state would defend the rule of law.

In a country with some 4693 communities and over 415 living languages, each community is bound to have its own customs, including dietary choices. Individuals may also follow practices different from the ones followed by the majority of their community. Any attempt to impose a uniform belief or practice, on either individuals or communities, is antithetical to the freedom enshrined in the Constitution. It is the state’s responsibility to ensure this freedom.

Further, as scholars, we are extremely worried about the implications of these recent developments for our ability to study and write about different life ways, and to critically analyse society, including social phenomena like religion.

SIGNED (in alphabetical order)

Janaki Abraham, University of Delhi
Anuja Agrawal, University of Delhi
Yasmeen Arif, University of Delhi
Mahuya Bandyopadhyay, University of Delhi
Xonzoi Barbora, Tata Institute of Social Sciences- Guwahati
Amita Baviskar, Institute of Economic Growth
Pratiksha Baxi, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Jyothsna Belliappa, Azim Premji University
Anjali Bhatia, University of Delhi
Reema Bhatia, University of Delhi
Vasundhara Bhojvaid, University of Delhi
Anuj Bhuwania, South Asian University
Rita Brara, University of Delhi
Anand Chakravarti, rtd. University of Delhi
Ruchi Chaturvedi, University of Cape Town
Radhika Chopra, University of Delhi
Dia Da Costa, University of Alberta
Ajay Dandekar, Shiv Nadar University
Ankur Datta, South Asian University
Satish Deshpande, University of Delhi
Vincent Ekka, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Tanweer Fazal, Jamia Millia Islamia
Shalini Grover, Institute of Economic Growth
Radhika Gupta, Max Planck Institute, Göttingen
Chandan Gowda, Azim Premji University
Rajesh Kamble, University of Mumbai
Sasheej Hegde, University of Hyderabad
Farhana Ibrahim, Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi
Surinder S. Jodhka, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Kalpana Kannabiran, Centre for Social Development
Ravinder Kaur, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi
Sakshi Khurana, V. V. Giri National Labour Institute
Ravi Kumar, South Asian University
Satendra Kumar, Lucknow
C. Lakshmanan, Madras Institute of Development Studies
Amman Madan, Azim Premji University
T. N. Madan, Institute of Economic Growth
Nissim Mannathukkaren, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Nayanika Mathur, University of Cambridge
Deepak Mehta, University of Delhi
Gayatri Menon, Azim Premji University
Arima Misra, Azim Premji University
Radhika Mongia, York University
Geetha Nambissan, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Balmurli Natarajan, William Paterson University
Tiplut Nongbri, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Rajni Palriwala, University of Delhi
Amrita Pande, University of Cape Town
Sujata Patel, University of Hyderabad
Tulsi Patel, University of Delhi
Shilpa Phadke, Tata Institute of Social Sciences- Mumbai
Purendra Prasad, University of Hyderabad
Raka Ray, University of California at Berkeley
D. R. Sahu, University of Lucknow
Savyasaachi, Jamia Millia Islamia
Manisha Sethi, Jamia Millia Islamia
Hira Singh, York University
Alito Siquira, University of Goa
G. Srinivas, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Sanjay Srivastava, Institute of Economic Growth
V. Sujatha, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Nandini Sundar, University of Delhi
Ravi Sundaram, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies
Renny Thomas, University of Delhi
Patricia Uberoi, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies
Carol Upadhya, National Institute of Advanced Study
Divya Vaid, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Sudha Vasan, University of Delhi
A. R. Vasavi, Bangalore
Susan Visvanathan, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Anurekha Chari Wagh, University of Pune
Virginius Xaxa, Tata Institute of Social Sciences– Guwahati
Kamei Aphun, University of Delhi
Tina Chakravarty, Sophia College, Mumbai.
Roma Chatterji, University of Delhi
Maitrayee Chaudhary, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Walter Fernandes, North Eastern Social Research Centre, Guwahati
Rudolf Heredia, Independent Researcher, Mumbai
Navdeep Mathur, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
Nilika Mehrotra, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Veena Naregal, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi
Meena Radhakrishna, formerly of Delhi University
Manjeet Singh, Government College, Jind, Haryana