WASHINGTON, DC – Renowned scholar-activist Dr. Noam Chomsky, along with Professor Rajmohan Gandhi, Research Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, issued video statements on June 2 condemning the Indian government’s unjust incarceration of student activist Umar Khalid.
“Khalid’s case,” Dr. Chomsky said in his recorded statement, “is one of many that shed a grim light on India’s system of justice during a period of repression, and often violence, that has been visibly undermining free institutions… as part of the large-scale government effort to dismantle India’s honorable tradition of secular democracy.”
Prof. Gandhi highlighted Khalid’s scholarly contributions as a doctoral student at JNU, stating, “In [Khalid], India possesses one of its finest minds, reinforced by a sensitive conscience… this brilliant young son of India has now been silenced for 20 continuous months.”
For nearly two years, Umar Khalid, a former student leader at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), has been incarcerated by the government for his role in leading protests in early 2020 against the discriminatory, anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
He was arrested in September 2020 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), a draconian law which gives the state broad authority to designate any individual as a “terrorist” and detain them without a fair trial.
Khalid is just one of the countless activists, dissidents, and human rights defenders who have been unjustly jailed under this law.
Hindus for Human Rights, Indian American Muslim Council, Dalit Solidarity Forum, and India Civil Watch International join Dr. Chomsky and Prof. Gandhi in calling for Umar Khalid’s immediate release.