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NEW DELHI: Students at one of India’s most prominent universities gathered in protest over an event involving the US ambassador to New Delhi on Monday, as they stood up against American support for Israel’s war on Gaza.

US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti was invited for a talk on US-India ties at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi on Monday afternoon, which would take place amid protests on American campuses demanding their universities cut financial ties with Israel over its military offensive in Gaza, which has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians.

At the university’s convention center, over 100 students organized by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union protested the invitation of Garcetti, calling out his complicity “in the genocide Israel is currently doing in Palestine.”

JNUSU President Dhananjay told Arab News: “By calling such a person in the university … who is supporting the genocide, we want to tell them that JNU is not silent on this issue and we want to speak up.

“We are protesting against the US support for the genocide in Gaza committed by Israel.”

Hundreds of US college students have been arrested and suspended as peaceful demonstrations calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and divestment from companies linked to Israel spread across American campuses.

The student-led movement comes after nearly six months since Israel began its onslaught on the Gaza Strip, which Tel Aviv said was launched to stamp out the militant group Hamas.

Hundreds of thousands of housing units in the besieged territory have either been completely or partially destroyed, while the majority of public facilities, schools and hundreds of cultural landmarks have been demolished and continue to be targeted in intense bombing operations.

JNU student leaders said they stood in solidarity with the protesting students in the US.

“We are students, and we need to ask questions. If some atrocities are taking place and there are mindless killings going on, speaking out against this should be the responsibility of all sections of society,” Dhananjay said.

“The visuals that we see make us shiver and shake our conscience. If we don’t speak up, then I don’t think we have a right to be a social being.”

At the JNU campus on Monday, the student protest led to a cancellation of the event involving the US envoy.

“We feel happy that we forced the administration to cancel the talks by the ambassador,” JNUSU Vice President Avijit Ghosh told Arab News.

Despite India’s historic support for Palestine, the government has been mostly quiet in the wake of Israel’s deadly siege of Gaza.

When Indians went to the streets in the past months to protest and raise awareness on the atrocities unfolding in Gaza, their demonstrations were dispersed by police and campaigns stifled.

Members of Indian civil society have since come together to challenge their government’s links with Tel Aviv and break Delhi’s silence on Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians, reflecting similar concerns that some university students also felt.

“The US is supporting Israel in the killing of Palestinian people in Gaza. It’s also suppressing students in its country who are raising voice against the genocide in Gaza,” Ghosh said.

“We are agitated that India is being a mute spectator and not taking a clear stand against the ongoing genocide in Gaza.”

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