Kolkata, January 20: Citing recent unrests at the University of Hyderabad (HCU) and Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said that independent thinking and free expression at Indian universities is under “threat” and pose a great danger to democracy.
The senior leader was speaking at the Presidency University in Kolkatta and stated that attempts to suppress peaceful dissent are undemocratic.
“I believe every university must give the freedom to pursue knowledge even where the knowledge may be at odds with established intellectual and social traditions. We must guard this freedom zealously,” he said.
Political interference in academic appointments is highly short-sighted, he said adding that it is highly regrettable.
“Recent attempts to interfere with free expression of the student community at the HCU and JNU are of particular concern,” he said.
“Attempts to suppress peaceful dissent is not only inimical to learning but also undemocratic. We must make very effort to protect the autonomy of every university,” he added.