8 May 2024

Students of Ashoka University in Haryana join wave of pro-Palestine protests

Ashoka University in Haryana's Sonipat has recently joined the wave of pro-Palestine protests seen on US campuses, with demonstrations ongoing for about a week.

The university's student government, an elected body, has called for an end to collaboration with Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel. Students said TAU engages with Israeli institutions allegedly involved in human rights violations. 

Ashoka University currently maintains research partnerships with TAU, encompassing various activities such as faculty exchanges, student mobility, joint research projects, short-term study opportunities, and collaborative programs.

The petition highlights TAU's associations with Israeli arms manufacturers like Elbit Systems and draws attention to the significant Palestinian death toll. 

Students specifically pointed out the alleged involvement of TAU professors in activities such as drafting ethical codes for the Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) and providing legal defense for IOF members accused of war crimes. The petition also mentions TAU's role in shaping military doctrines.

Citing the principles of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which targets entities perceived to support Israel against Gaza, the petition calls for the immediate suspension of all academic and research collaborations with TAU.

It accuses TAU of perpetuating an environment that stifles discussion on Palestinian issues and impedes Palestinian scholarly work, contrasting this with the destruction of Palestinian universities by Israeli forces.

The petition argues that by maintaining ties with an institution allegedly linked to systematic human rights abuses, Ashoka University is complicit in these violations and urges the university to uphold ethical standards and human rights principles.

Ashoka University has been the subject of controversy in the past, such as in March when videos surfaced on social media showing its students chanting slogans advocating for a caste census and criticizing Brahmin-Baniya dominance.

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