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India students union slams crackdown on pro-Palestine campus protests in US

The students’ union of the leading Indian university has shown its support for the pro-Palestinian protests occurring at American universities, criticizing the police’s harsh response toward the protesting students, and calling for the charges against them to be dropped.

The country’s prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University’s students union (JNUSU) expressed its “unwavering solidarity” with the students of Columbia University, where demonstrations in support of Palestine broke out on April 17, and are “courageously raising their voices against Israel’s war and genocide against Palestine.”

The students of the American university are calling for the removal of companies that are profiting from the Israeli-led genocide over Gaza, it said.

Soon the demonstrations spread like wildfire across various other campuses across the US.

“It is deeply concerning that instead of engaging in dialogue, the [Columbia] University administration is resorting to repressive tactics,” the students’ body said in a statement.

“We condemn the university’s decision to suspend and arrest students for exercising their right to protest. Furthermore, we condemn Columbia President Shafik’s public call for the arrest of students on her own campus. This action undermines the very essence of academic freedom and free speech,” it added.

Incidents of confrontations with law enforcement have been reported during these protests. Numerous students participating in the demonstrations have faced suspension from their respective universities, while more than 500 individuals have been apprehended by the authorities.

JNUSU has requested the US university to cease utilizing the tuition fees, which are paid by students through loans amounting to billions, to financially support companies engaged in warfare.

“The world is witnessing a worrying trend of governments adopting authoritarian tactics to silence dissent. Students, journalists, and anyone who dares to speak truth to power are being arrested, intimidated, and punished,” JNUSU said.

On Thursday, two Indian-origin students, Achinthya Sivalingam and Hassan Sayed enrolled at Princeton University, were arrested during pro-Palestine protests on the campus, after facing trespassing charges for setting up tents for an encampment in a university courtyard.

JNUSU has also planned to demonstrate against a lecture scheduled on April 29 by the US ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, at JNU’s School of International Studies, aiming to voice their disapproval of America’s backing of Israel’s conflict with Palestine.

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