Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Tuesday said he was appalled by the violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University, reported ANI. The economist also condemned the delay by the university administration and the police in bringing the situation under control.
“I’m appalled by what’s going on,” Sen told reporters on the sidelines of the Infosys Prize 2019 in Bengaluru. “That the establishment of the university can’t prevent outsiders from coming in and creating such bloody violence within the campus. I’m also appalled that communication between the administration and the police would be so delayed that ill-treatment of students could go on for quite some time without being prevented by forces of law and order.”
At least 34 students and teachers were injured when a masked mob attacked the university on Sunday evening. It has been alleged that members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, were responsible for the attack.
Asked about the amended citizenship law, Sen said it was unconstitutional and that the Supreme Court should turn it down, reported The Hindu. “You cannot have certain types of fundamental rights of human beings, in this case connected with citizenship, be related with religious differences rather than the things that really matter such as where you were born, and what the citizenship laws require you to do,” he added.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.
Sen said there was need for sympathy. “Muslims in Burma [Myanmar] should be given exactly the same consideration as of maltreatment of Hindus in some other country,” he added. “It has to be independent of religion, but take cognisance of other serious reasons to apply for Indian citizenship. It should be granted on fair, just and equitable basis and not on the basis of communal discrimination against one religion.”
Addressing the prize ceremony as the chief guest, the Nobel laureate cautioned that the climate of conflict in India could impede the development and spread of knowledge.“Divisions between groups and sects not only damage social lives, but work as barriers to intellectual progress,” he added. “Friendship is, in fact, central to the development of knowledge.”