New Delhi: Nature, a prominent British scientific journal, published an editorial Tuesday condemning the violence in university campuses in India. In the editorial titled ‘Protect India’s universities’, the multidisciplinary journal called upon the Indian government and state authorities to “step in”.
“The government and state authorities must step in and stop violent attacks on academic campuses,” it said.
The editorial explained the events that led up to the violence in JNU and said, “Academics in India and around the world are right to be alarmed to speak up, because force has been on university campus, causing fear.”
Nature is a weekly international journal and is one of the most well known scientific publications in the world. It carries peer-reviewed research in science and technology. The work is selected on the basis of its “originality, importance, interdisciplinary interest, timeliness, accessibility, elegance and surprising conclusions”.
On CAA and the protests against it
Nature observed that “tens of thousands have been gathering to read out the preamble to the Indian constitution, as a mark of protest against a discriminatory new citizenship law.”
It criticised the newly amended citizenship law and wrote, “What is troubling is that decisions on who can — and cannot — apply for citizenship will be made on the basis of religious belief.” It added that the exclusion of Muslims is a “violation of the foundational principle that people of all faiths” must be equal before the law.
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It also mentioned the violence witnessed in Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh, and argued: “The severity of police action has rightly prompted a chorus of international concern.”
Observing that government supporters are “upset” with students, academics and scientists, the editorial noted, “They must know that freedom of expression is core to a university’s mission; that the ability of citizens to protest peacefully against government policies is a right, not a privilege; and that the state should provide protection for such dissent.”
The journal suggested that the authorities “must heed the words” of the Prime Minister’s principal scientific adviser Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan who said, “Campuses are places for learning, discussion, collegial debate amongst diverse opinions, and research. There is no place at all for violence.”
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