'Muslims living in India for generations will become Stateless': MIT students, faculty, alumni condemn CAA, NRC; full text

The students, faculty, staff, alumni and affiliates of Boston’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) issued a statement expressing solidarity with the protests being witnessed across India against the amended Citizenship Act.

The statement also condemned the police action against protests at Jamia Millia Islamia University, Aligarh Muslim University, Assam, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Jama Masjid and Mangaluru, which left more than 20 people dead. The statement also criticised the lathi-charges, tear gas shelling, internet shutdowns, imposition of Section 144 in various parts of the country owing to these protests.

The Citizenship Amendment Act is intended to smooth the path to citizenship for Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Parsi and Christian migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who entered India before 2014. The statement mentions that the Act does not mention the term “persecuted religious minorities”, instead elaborating upon six religions that migrants will have to belong to in order to be eligible for citizenship. It also said that the Act violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution and when combined with the National Register of Citizens, enables the government to “weed out” undocumented migrants and could render Muslims “stateless”.

Indian-Americans and Indian students held peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the US cities of Chicago and Boston earlier this week. About 150 people marched to the Indian consulate from the Tribune Tower in Chicago. A diverse section of the Indian diaspora gathered on the steps of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a call to boycott the NRC and repeal the CAA.

The protests on campuses against the Citizenship Act reached top educational institutions in the world including Oxford, Harvard and Yale and MIT too, with 400 students from these varsities issuing a joint statement condemning the Act and the police action during protests.

Here is the full text of the statement:

Statement from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and Affiliates

We, the undersigned students, faculty, staff, alumni, and affiliates, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) stand in solidarity with the peaceful and historic student protests across nearly 100 campuses in India against the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA). We strongly condemn the increasingly violent suppression of these citizens’ protests at the Aligarh Muslim University, the Jamia Millia Islamia University, Jama Masjid, Delhi, Mangaluru, and across several cities in Uttar Pradesh that have left several dead. We praise the courage, dignity, humor, resolve, and dynamism with which the students and ordinary citizens continue their protest in the face of lathi (baton) charges, tear gas, police detentions, the suspension of the internet, the closing down of public transportation, and the imposition of section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedures, a colonial-era law used by the state to prevent public gathering of more than four people.

The Citizenship Amendment Act accelerates the path to citizenship for Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Parsi and Christian migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who entered India before 2014. Ostensibly introduced to protect these religious communities from “persecution”, the Act does not in fact mention “persecuted religious minorities”, identifying, instead, migrants belonging to the six religions, conspicuously excluding Muslims from its purview. By introducing religion as a marker for communities which will receive such state protection, the Act directly violates Article 14 of the Indian constitution that explicitly guarantees equality to all persons, both citizens and foreigners, within the territory of India. Second, the Act, in effect, redefines Indian citizenship on the basis of religion, breaking, completely, with the secular and inclusive foundation of the nation since it gained independence in 1947. The exclusion of Muslims from this new definition of Indian citizenship is reinforced by the identification of only Muslim-majority countries in South Asia, despite the presence of other persecuted communities within them, and many such refugees from other nations, such as Sri Lanka and Myanmar. The Act also includes an arbitrary cut-off date, 2014, for those who can apply for this fast-tracked citizenship. These places of origin and dates are suggestive of a continuous, 80-year-long history of persecution that stopped six years ago, neither of which claim has been substantiated or, indeed, is historically accurate.

The scope and scale of the CAA must be understood in conjunction with the National Register of Citizenship (NRC), an administrative undertaking to create a registry of all existing Indian citizens to enable the government to “weed out”, in its own words, “infiltrators” and “termites”, that is to say undocumented migrants. This show of citizenship would require a series of unspecified documents relating to birth, parentage, and grandparents. If implemented, the NRC could make stateless those who are unable to produce these papers. While Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh would be protected by being granted citizenship under the CAA, an overwhelming number of Muslims, who have lived within the territory of India for generations as well as more recent migrants, could be rendered stateless.

The preamble of the constitution declares India to be a secular, democratic republic. It is the enormity of the CAA and NRC combined that would irrevocably redefine Indian citizenship and nationhood by turning away from the plurality and diversity - the guiding principles of the constitution and the state that have been celebrated and kept in balance for nearly 70 years - that has mobilized students to call for the withdrawal of the CAA and the NRC. The sheer diversity of students and citizens who have taken to the streets from liberal arts, engineering, law, public, and private colleges across India, from Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Kochi, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Kanpur, Aligarh, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Pune, Shillong, Itanagar, and Silchar, to name a few, is a testament to the democratic and secular foundation of the country that constitutes the fabric of India and which is under imminent threat. We, the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and affiliates at MIT, many of whom are associated with India professionally and personally, stand in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of students and citizens protesting in India and join their demand for the withdrawal of the CAA and NRC.

Signed by:

1) Sana Aiyar, Associate Professor of History, MIT

2) Paul Staniland, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago, MIT PhD, Political Science, 2010

3) Mihir Trivedi, Undergraduate, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT

4) Nureen Das, Program Manager MIT India/South Asia (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Science & Technology Initiatives).

5) Abha Sur, Lecturer, Science, Technology, and Society and Women and Gender Studies, MIT

6) Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Associate Professor of Law and Development, Department of Urban Studies and Planning and Head of the International Development Group, MIT

7) Timothy Loh, PhD student, HASTS (History, Anthropology, STS), MIT

8) Kenda Mutongi, Professor of History, MIT

9) Marc Aidinoff, PhD Candidate, Program in History, Anthropology, and STS, MIT

10) Ada de Gooyer, Undergraduate student, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

11) Lerna Ekmekcioglu, Associate Prof. of History, MIT

12) Revanth Damerla, PhD Pre-Candidate, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, BS 2018 MIT

13) Neosha Narayanan, Undergraduate Student, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

14) Satya Mohapatra, staff scientist, LIGO Laboratory, MIT

15) Elise Harrington, PhD Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

16) Antonio Moya-Latorre, MIT Community Innovators Lab, Department of Urban Studies and Planning

17) Michelle English, Director of Communications, MIT Center for International Studies

18) Joseph Borkowski, Systems Administrator, MIT Global Languages

19) Nelly Rosario, MIT ‘94; Associate Professor, Latina/o Studies Program, Williams College

20) Alia Husain Rizvi, Undergraduate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

21) Shariann Lewitt, Lecturer, Program in Comparative Media Studies/Writing, MIT

22) Chenab Navalkha, MCP Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

23) Chelsea Hodgkins, MCP Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

24) Laurie Scheffler, staff, Center for International Studies

25) Meghan Perdue, Digital Learning Fellow, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Science.

26) Madeline Smith, Program Manager, MIT-Denmark, MISTI

27) Dwaipayan Banerjee, Assistant Professor STS, MIT

28) Mriganka Mandal, Undergraduate, Departments of Chemistry and Biology, MIT

29) Harith Morgan, Undergraduate, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT

30) Fatima Gunter-Rahman, Undergraduate, Departments of EECS and Biology, MIT

31) Faizan Jawed Siddiqi, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

32) Moin Nadeem, MEng Student, Department of EECS

33) Brían O’Conaill, Administrative Officer, Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics

34) Samar Abu Hegly, Undergraduate, Departments of EECS, MIT

35) Al Baraa Abd Aldaim, Undergraduate, Department of Mathematics, MIT

36) Ben Walker, MCP Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

37) Eric Robsky Huntley, Lecturer in Urban Science and Planning, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

38) Alan Brody, Emeritus Professor of Theater Arts, MIT

39) Jeba Sania, Undergraduate, Department of EECS, MIT

40) Atissa Banuazizi, Lecturer, Program in Comparative Media Studies/Writing, MIT

41) Alona Bach, PhD student, Program in History, Anthropology, and STS (HASTS), MIT

42) Sharon Velasquez, MCP Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

43) Ava Hoffman, MCP Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

44) Zack Avre, MCP Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

45) Deborah Fitzgerald, Professor, Program in Science, Technology, and Society, MIT

46) Rionna Flynn, Undergraduate, Department of Physics, MIT

47) Elizabeth Wood, Professor of History, MIT

48. Kavita Mudan Finn, Lecturer, Department of Literature, MIT

49) Smrithi Raman, Undergraduate, Departments of Biological Engineering and Political Science, MIT

50) Dan Powers, MCP Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

51) Karilyn Crockett, Lecturer, Department of Urban Studies & Planning, MIT

52) Steven E. Ostrow, Lecturer (retired) & Research Affiliate in History, MIT

53) Arvind, Head of Computer Science Faculty, Schwarzman College of Computing, MIT

54) Merrick Cai, Undergraduate, Department of Mathematics, MIT

55) Bahij Chancey, MCP Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

56) Hector Beltran, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, MIT

57) Isabelle de Courtivron, Emerita, prof of the Humanities

58) Neha Doshi, MCP Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

59) Sarah Dohadwala, Undergraduate, Department of Biological Engineering, MIT

60) Xio Alvarez, MCP/MArch Candidate, Department of Urban Studies & Planning / Department of Architecture, MIT

61) Jacob Miske, Undergraduate, Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT

62) Tanalís Padilla, Associate Professor of History, MIT

63) Anoushka Bose, Undergraduate, Department of Physics, Department of Political Science, MIT

64) Sualeh Asif, Undergraduate, Department of
Mathematics, Department of EECS, MIT

65) Cathy Choi, Undergraduate, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT

66) Caley Horan, Assistant Professor of History, MIT

67) Aditya Barve, Research Scientist, Department of Architecture, MIT

68) Rohit Naimpally, Senior Research & Policy Manager, J-PAL North America, MIT

69) Abhishek Banerjee, previously Postdoc at Picower Institute, now Associate Professor UK

70) Priyanka deSouza, PhD student at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

71) Erica Caple James, Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology and Urban Studies, and Director, Global Health and Medical Humanities Initiative, MIT

72) Maia Campbell, Undergraduate, Department of EECS, MIT

73) Louis Bucciarelli, Professor Emeritus, Engineering & Technology Studies, MIT

74) Marwa Abdulhai, Undergraduate, Department of EECS, MIT

75) Jennah Haque, Undergraduate, Department of EECS and Department of Economics, MIT

76) Anish Paul Antony, Postdoctoral Associate, D-Lab, MIT

77) Matthew B., former lecturer, MIT Course 21

78) Richard Sennett OBE FBA, Visiting Professor, The Senseable Cities Lab, MIT; Senior Advisor, Project on Climate Change and Cities, a collaboration between the United Nations and MIT Chair, Theatrum Mundi

79) Tanaya Srini, MCP Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

80) Annmarie W. MIT Undergraduate

81) Kate Brown, Professor in Science, Technology and Society, MIT

82) Mriganka Sur, Professor, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT

83) Vivek Bald, Associate Professor, Comparative Media Studies & Writing, MIT

84) Mohammed Shafim, MIT Undergraduate

85) Bhavik Nagda, Undergraduate, Department of EECS, MIT

86) Aarthi Janakiraman, PhD Student, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

87) Faraaz Nadeem, MEng Student, Department of EECS, MIT

88) Ceasar McDowell, Professor of the Practice of Civic Design, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

89) René Livas, staff, Department of Economics, MIT

90) Anna Chung, Master’s student, Comparative Media Studies, MIT

91) Julian Rippy, PhD Candidate, Political Science

92) Ayşe Güvenilir, Undergraduate, Department of Biological Engineering, MIT

93) Louis Kampf, Professor Emeritus of Humanities, MIT

94) Ishani Thakur, Undergraduate, Department of EECS, MIT

95) Arindam Dutta, Associate Professor, School of Architecture

96) Emily Liu, Undergraduate, Department of EECS, MIT

97) Narendra Subramanian, Professor of Political Science, McGill University; MIT Ph.D., Political Science, 1993

98) Afeefah Khazi-Syed, Undergraduate, Department of Biological Engineering, MIT

99) Divakar Singh Mithal MD, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University; MIT SB ‘01, Course IX

100) Miriam Wahid, Undergraduate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

101) Susan Murcott, Lecturer, D-Lab

102) Jayaprakash Kambhampaty, Undergraduate, Department of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, MIT

103) Ashutosh Varshney, Sol Goldman Professor of International Studies and the Social Sciences, Professor of Political Science, Brown University. MIT PhD Political Science 1990.

104) Valerie Chen, Undergraduate, Department ofPolitical Science, MIT

105) Francesca Macchiavello, Undergraduate, Department of EECS and Department of Economics, MIT

106) Wilbur Li, Undergrad, Dept of EECS, MIT Class of 2020

107) Shail Joshi, Graduate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

108) Vinod Ratre, Undergraduate Student, Department of Biomedical Engineering.

109) Hiromu Nagahara, Associate Professor of History, MIT

110) Franklin Zhang, Undergraduate, Department of EECS, MIT

111) Priyanka Shah, SMArchS+MCP, School of Architecture and Planning, MIT, 2008

112) Poulomi Chakrabarti, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Queen’s University. MCP, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT, 2007.

113) Rabab Haider, Graduate, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT

114) Taylor Bailey, PhD Student, Program in History, Anthropology, and STS, MIT

115) Daniel Sweeney, Research Scientist, D-Lab, MIT

116) Catherine D'Ignazio, Assistant Professor of Urban Science and Planning, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

117) Natalia Barbour, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

118) Aruna Sankaranarayanan, graduate student, MIT Media Lab

119) Anum Mustafa, PhD candidate, Department of Political Science, MIT

120) Ashawari Chaudhuri, Lecturer, HASTS, MIT

121) Samuel Jay Keyser, professor emeritus, linguistics and philosophy, MIT

122) Stefan Helmreich, professor, Anthropology, MIT

123) Helen Elaine Lee, Professor, CMS/W & Director, WGS, MIT

124) Takako Aikawa, Sr. Lecturer, Global Languages, MIT

125) Ria Sonecha, Undergraduate, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT

126) Malick Ghachem, Associate Professor of History, MIT

127) Christopher Clary, Assistant Professor of Political Science, State University of New York, Albany; 2005 PhD, MIT

128) Dinsha Mistree, Lecturer and Research Fellow, Stanford Law School; S.B., S.M. Department of Political Science, MIT

129) Ranu Boppana, SB ‘87, MD, President, MIT South Asian Alumni Association

130) Megha Hegde, Research Associate, D-Lab, MIT

131) Karthik Srinivasan, Research Scientist, Mcgovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT

132) Boyd Ruamcharoen, PhD Student, Program in History, Anthropology, and STS (HASTS), MIT

133) Julie Vaughn, Undergraduate, Department of EECS, MIT

134) Sharan Raja, Graduate Student, Centre for Computational Engineering, MIT

135) Theodore Moallem, PhD, HST '11, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology, Graduate Program in Speech & Hearing Bioscience and Technology; Postdoctoral fellow, 2015-17, MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) & MIT Office of Digital Learning (ODL)

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Updated Date: Dec 26, 2019 12:36:12 IST