New Delhi: In the face of increasing attacks on democratic space including higher education institutions, students’ bodies, teachers and civil rights activists, People’s Commission on Shrinking Democratic Space in India (PCSDS) has decided to hold a people’s tribunal in New Delhi.
The people's tribunal will be held from April 11 to 13 at Constitution Club of India in New Delhi. Over 120 testimonies of students and professors will be presented before a jury of eminent persons comprising Prof. Romila Thapar, Justice (Retd.) AP Shah, Justice (Retd.) Hosbet Suresh, Justice (Retd.) BG Kolse Patil, Prof. Amit Bhaduri, Dr. Uma Chakravarty, Prof. TK Oommen, Prof. Vasanthi Devi, Prof. KM Shrimali, Prof. Ghanshyam Shah, Prof. Meher Engineer, Prof. Kalpana Kannabiran and Pamela Philipose.
"A number of experts will also depose before the jury", People’s Commission on Shrinking Democratic Space in India (PCSDS) said.
People’s Commission on Shrinking Democratic Space in India (PCSDS) is a national level membership based collective of human rights organisations, democratic rights activists, social movements and concerned individuals who have come together with the objective of responding to and advocating the issues of freedoms of opinion, expression, association, assembly, dissent, protest and all other rights, including harassment and criminalisation, of all human rights defenders.
PCSDS was formed in May 2016 through a National Convention after a series of consultations at state, regional and national levels.
"Over the past few years, there have been several attempts by the government to suppress voices of dissent and questioning in educational institutions. Incidents from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Assam Women’s University, Hyderabad Central University, Film & Television Institute of India, Delhi University, Jadavpur University, Allahabad University, Benaras Hindu University, Guwahati University, Punjab University and several other institutions testify this", PCSDS said in a statement.
"The first PCSDS people’s tribunal is being organised to respond to the challenges faced by higher educational institutions and students and teachers in these institutions. It is the centres of higher learning in India that have become the battleground for the foundation of Indian democracy and all it stands for", it said.
"The objective of the tribunal is to record and enquire – the repression, surveillance and administrative actions under which the students, faculty and employees of institutes of higher learning are subjected to deliberate criminalisation of students and teachers in various parts of the country; increasing government and State interference, undermining of the Constitution and Constitutional values, and structural discrimination faced by students based on caste, gender and region", PCSDS said.
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