New Delhi: More than 200 academicians, including vice-chancellors of universities, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, blaming a “small coterie of Left-wing activists” for a deteriorating academic environment in the country.

“We observe with dismay that in the name of student politics, a disruptive far-left agenda is being pursued. The recent turn of events in campuses from JNU to Jamia, from AMU to Jadavpur alarms us to the deteriorating academic environment due to the shenanigans of a small coterie of left-wing activists,” they wrote to the prime minister.

The signatories to the statement include Hari Singh Gour University VC R. P. Tiwari, Central University of South Bihar VC HCS Rathore and Sardar Patel University VC Shirish Kulkarni, among others, according to official sources.

It is titled as “statement against left-wing anarchy in educational institutions”.

The statement by 208 academicians is being seen as part of the ruling dispensation’s efforts to mobilise support in the academia after it faced flak from a section of the intelligentsia over protests in certain universities over a host of issues, including the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the recent violence on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus.

Taking on Left-leaning groups, the statement said it had become difficult to organise public talks or speak independently due to the “censorship imposed by the left-wing politics”.

Strikes, dharnas and shutdowns over maximalist demands were common in Left strongholds and personal targeting, public slandering and harassment for not conforming to the Left ideology were on the rise, the academicians wrote to Modi.

The worst sufferer of this kind of politics were poor students and those from marginalised communities, the statement said.

“They (these students) lose out on the opportunity to learn and build a better future for themselves. They also lose out on the freedom to articulate their own views and alternative politics. They find themselves constrained to conform to the majoritarian left politics. We appeal to all democratic forces to come together and stand for academic, freedom of speech and plurality of thoughts,” it added.