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NEW DELHI: Students of India’s top law school have joined a global campus movement to sever ties with Israeli academic institutions they accuse of complicity in Israel’s deadly war on Gaza and atrocities committed against the Palestinian people.

The academic boycott of Israel is part of the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” campaign launched in 2005. Since the beginning of the war in October, targeting Israeli universities, research institutions and their activities, it has been supported by an increasing number of student communities.

Students of the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research, a public law school in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, officially joined the campaign on June 15, submitting a petition asking the NALSAR administration to sever ties with Tel Aviv University and Radzyner Law School.

The public petition was signed by 362 people, including 275 students, 70 graduates and 12 academic staff.

“Israeli universities such as Tel Aviv University and Radzyner Law School, both directly and indirectly, either contributed to the current attack in Gaza or defended its legitimacy in the academic literature,” Hamza Khan, who is graduating this year, told the Arab studies at NALSAR News.

“They have played a key role in working with defense technology companies whose products are currently actively used by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) against the Palestinians. These institutions continue to be part of Israeli militarism and contribute to an infrastructure of oppression and open support for Israel’s crimes.”

The petition calls on NALSAR’s vice-chancellor to “sever all ties related to international exchange programs with the Israeli institutes Tel Aviv University and the Radzyner School of Law as part of a complete academic and economic detachment from the Israeli state and academia, which continues to a mute spectator, but an active complicity in the ongoing crisis.”

Over the past eight months, Israeli forces have killed more than 37,000 people in Gaza, injured tens of thousands of others, destroyed the enclave’s health infrastructure and cut off its supplies of water, food, fuel and medical aid.

Israel also destroyed 80 percent of Gaza’s schools, which, combined with the persecution and targeted killings of Palestinian scholars, was called a scholasticide by international human rights groups and UN experts, leading to the complete annihilation of Palestinian education.

“Remaining silent in the face of such violations would be hypocritical and would signal double standards,” Khan said.

“NALSAR’s legacy goes beyond educating corporate lawyers and being the premier law school in the country. It’s about instilling in us humanity, ethics, values ​​and the courage to speak out against injustice.”

NALSAR is widely regarded as one of the best law schools in India.

Notable alumni of the university include Dr. Anup Surendranath, India’s leading expert in criminal and constitutional law, Supreme Court lawyer Talha Raman and Alok Prasanna Kumar, co-founder of Vidhi Center for Legal Policy, India’s leading think tank that advises the government on law, regulation and politics.

Despite India’s historic support for Palestine, the Indian government has remained mostly calm in the face of deadly attacks on Gaza and has also sold weapons to Israel, according to local media reports.

Students disagree with politics and try to break the silence.

“We did not refrain from asking important questions that are relevant to the ideas we believe in,” said Shreyam Sharma, a final-year student and one of the organizers of the student action.

“Israel has disregarded all existing conventions. The ICJ (International Court of Justice) has already signaled the possibility of the violation (being) genocidal in nature. “Many human rights experts have prepared reports based on concrete evidence that show that genocide is taking place.”

Akhil Surya, also a final-year student, said he was “ashamed” of his country’s passivity.

“The genocide in Palestine is the most documented and broadcast in real time. Many of us who have been viewing images from Palestine for over eight months have wondered… “What can we do when we are so far away?” – he said.

“Inspired by the BDS movement that has arisen in every corner of the world, we felt that as students we could do what we could.”

Despite repeated attempts, the NALSAR vice chancellor did not respond to requests for comment.

Dr. Srijan Mandal, who teaches constitutional history and one of the university staff members supporting the petition, said the students felt they had to “do something to acknowledge what is happening in Palestine, what Israel is doing in Palestine” and take any action despite their weak position in the power structure.

“The least we can do is that our institution does not have a formal agreement on student exchanges and other possible exchanges with Israeli institutions,” he told Arab News.

“It’s the least we can do.”

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