Petition to the Iranian Government for Immediate Release of the staff and faculty of the Bahá'í Institute of Higher Education


BIHE Baha'is of India We, the concerned citizens of the Republic of India, wish to place on record  our strongest remonstration for the brutal and senseless persecution of the Baha’is in general and the academic staff and administrators of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) in particular, in Iran.  The recent atrocities heaped upon this persecuted community, resulting in centrally orchestrated raids on 30 homes in different parts of the country and the arrest of 16 on 21st May, deserves the strongest condemnation from every upholder of human dignity and honour in India and the world.

We further wish to accentuate that the Bahá’í Institute of Higher Education came into existence in 1987 as a non-violent, informal and constructive response of the Iranian Baha’i community to address the educational needs of its youth beyond high school. Since 1979 Iranian Bahá’í youth have been systematically barred by your government from pursuing higher education  as part of your ongoing policy to keep your largest non-Muslim religious minority on the margins of society. The consequences of this policy of disallowing the Baha’i youth to have access to higher education will be detrimental not only for the Baha’is community of Iran, but also for the nation as a whole. Denying people access to education is a denial of their right to exist as free and productive human beings.

Iran is a country known for its contribution of the first charter of human rights. It has ratified both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Article 18 of ICCPR states, “everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognizes “the right of everyone to education,” and that, “higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity.” Persecuting people based on their religion, ideology and belief is not only a clear violation of human rights, but also tantamount to flagrantly abusing international law.

We therefore appeal to the Iranian Government to release immediately and unconditionally all those individuals affiliated with the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education who are in prison since 21st May, to desist such attacks on this Institute and to ensure that all Iranian students have access to higher education.

May 2011


  1. Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India
  2. Justice Shivraj V. Patil, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India
  3. Justice Rajinder Sachar, Former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court – Former President, People’s Union for Civil Liberties
  4. Dr. B.V. Acharya, Former Advocate General, State of Karnataka & Member, Law Commission of India
  5. Justice G. Patri Basavana Goud, Former Judge, High Court of Karnataka, Former, Upalokayukta, State of Karnataka
  6. Justice R. Gururanjan, Former Judge, High Court of Karnataka, Bangalore
  7. Vrinda Grover, Human Rights Lawyer & Supreme Court Advocate
  8. Advocate K. V. Patil, Ex Principal, I.M. Law College & Legal Advisor Rayat Shikhshan Sanstha, Satara
  9. Advocate Arvind Kada, Ex District Government, Pleader & Public Prosecutor – Lecturer Law College, Satara
  10. Ashok Agarwal, Advocate – Member, Social Jurist

Legislative and executive branches of government

  1. Mr.Udayain Raje Bhonsle, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
  2. Shambhuraj S. Desai, Ex MLA, Maharashtra
  3. Mr. V N Garg, Officer of the Indian Administrative Service,  Infrastructure and Industrial Development Commissioner, Uttar Pradesh
  1. 4. Nishant D. Patil, Member of Municipal Council, Ex Mayor, Satara
  1. Jayendra Chavan, Member of Municipal Council – Ex Vice President Municipal Council, Satara
  2. Shankar Malvade, Ex Vice President, Municipal Council, Satara
  3. Dr. Subhash Yadav, member of Municipal Board, Bhiwadi, Distt. Alwar, Rajasthan


  1. Dr. H. Maheshappa, Honourable Vice Chancellor, Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum, Karnataka
  2. Prof. Balraj Singh Chauhan, Vice Chancellor, Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow
  1. 3. Prof. R. B. Singh, Distinguished Professor IFFCO Foundation, Ex Assistant Director General of FAO
  2. 4. Prof. Amitabh Kundu, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, JNU – Former Member, National Statistical Commission
  1. Prof. (Dr.) Tahir Mahmood, Chairman, Amity University Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Former Chairman, National Minorities Commission & former Member, Law Commission of India
  2. Dr. Patil Suhas Shivalal, Member, Board of Studies, Shivaji University, Member, General Body, Symbiosis University, Pune
  3. Prof. Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Founder Editor, Manushi – Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies
  4. Mrs. Anagha Vaidya Soocheta, Textile Technology Department, Faculty of Engineering, University of Mauritius, Reduit
  5. Prof. Mohd. Muzammil, Professor of Economics, Lucknow University, Lucknow
  6. Prof. Vikas Gite, University of North Maharashtra
  7. Lt. Col. (Dr.) P.P.  Venugopalan, Dean, Kannur Medical College, Kannur, Kerala.
  8. Prof. Satish Jain, Professor, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, JNU, Delhi
  9. Mr. A.R. Garde, Former Director, Ahmedabad Textile Industries Research Association, Gujarat
  10. Prof. Babu MathewVisiting Professor, National Law University, Delhi
  11. Dr. Gayatri Bari, Lecturer & Human Rights Activist, Nasik
  12. Dr. Smita Bharadwaj, Naturopath, Motiwala Hospital and Medical College, Nasik
  13. Dr. Gharte Mita, B.H.M.S P.G.D.P.S,CCH.CGO, Nasik
  14. Dr. K. P. Bagmar, Educator, Human Rights Activist, Nasik
  15. Dr. Swanad Shukla, RYK College, Nasik
  16. Dr. Varsha Dharane, lecturer, Motiwala Hospital and Medical College, Nasik
  17. Prof. DR. Vimla. K. Patil , ex head of Marathi department of Shivaji college ,Satara
  18. Gopalakrishna, Librarian, B M S Institute of Technology, Bangalore
  19. S. M. Sonawane, Principal, New College of Education, Nasik
  20. Sanjay S. Shinde, Principal Samarth College of Education, Satpur, Nasik
  21. V. N. Suryawanshi, Principal HPT Arts & RYK Science College Sharanpur Road, Nasik
  22. M. A. Kulkarni, Prog. Co-ordinator, Dr. Moonje Institute, B.M.College, Nasik
  23. Mamta S. Lal, Lecturer. MVPS College, Nasik
  24. Sayyed Mursalin Sikander, RTC, “RAHNUMA” Urdu Primary School, Nasik
  25. Swapnil B. Nirmal, Principal, Motiwala College of Education Science, Nasik
  26. Raj Kishore Mishra, Secretary, Institute of Orissa Culture, Bhubaneswar
  27. P. C. Mohapatra, Former President, Board of Secondary Education, Orissa
  28. B. R. Dev, Principal, Jupiter Science College, Bhubaneswar
  29. K.  Bharat Chandra, Vice-principal, Jupiter Science College, Bhubaneswar
  30. Jaydeep Mohanty, HOD, Botany, Jupiter Science College, Bhubaneswar

Religious Leadership

  1. Rev. Dr. Dominic Emmanuel, Spokesman of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, Catholic Bishop Church of India
  2. Fr. Philip KuruvillaCoordinator, ESHA Project, NCCI – Secretary, India Interfaith Coalition on HIV
  3. Rabbi Ezekiel Issac Malekar, Chief Priest & Honorary Secretary Judah Hyam Synagogue
  4. Prof. Dr. MD Thomas, National Director, Commission for Religious Harmony, CBCI, New Delhi
  5. Fr. Jacob Thundyil, President, PREM, Orissa
  6. B. K. Durgesh Nandini, Sister in-charge, Brahmakumari, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

NGOs and Human Rights groups

  1. Dr. V. Mohini Giri, Chairperson, Guild for Service, former Chairperson, National Commission for Women
  1. Miloon Kothari, Coordinator, Housing and Land Rights Network – Former UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing
  1. Maja Daruwala, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  2. Mathew Cherian, Chief Executive, Help Age India,& Core Group Member, National Human Rights Commission of India
  3. Madhu MehraDirector, Partners for Law in Development
  4. Neera Misra, Chairperson, Draupadi Trust
  5. Mira Shiva, Coordinator, Initiative for Health & Equity in Society – Member, Diverse Women for Diversity
  6. Asghar Ali Engineer, Founder, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Islamic Scholar and activist
  7. Ravi Narayan, Secretary General, Indian Committee of Youth Organisations
  8. Jayant Kumar, Head of Programme, Church’s Auxiliary for social action (CASA)
  9. Anju Talukdar, Executive Director, Multiple Action Research Group
  10. N. Paul DivakarGeneral Secretary, Dalit Arthik Adhikar
  11. Rohit Gandhi, International Correspondent
  12. Captain U.R. Nikam ,editor Fauji Varta, President, Maharashtra ex service men and Pensioners Association

Corporate Sector

  1. Paresh Tewary, Director, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry- Aditya Birla CSR Centre for Excellence, Delhi
  2. C. Bose, President Textile Association (India) Mumbai Unit and Ex Vice President of Reliance, Silvassa
  3. Ashish Jain, Ex India Glycol, Vice President, Colourtex, Surat
  4. Dr. John Sequeira, Manager – Textile Application & QC Lab & Management Representative, CHT India Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai
  5. Ullhas Nimkar, Ex CEO, Texan Laboratory, Mumbai
  6. Dr. Ashok Sable, R&D, Manager, Sarex, Mumbai
  7. Mrs. Vaishali Rane, Q&A, Manager Supertex, Kishangarh, Ajmer
  8. D. S. Bhogle, V. P. Operations, Wilhelm Textiles India Co Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon
  9. Nilkanth Desai, Managing Director  of Neelwhite Chemicals, Mumbai
  10. Murthy Sanjiva, CEO of New Star Marketing , Mumbai
  11. Elham Naimi, Senior Software Engineer, LG Soft, Bangalore
  12. Vivek Naik, Chartered Accountant, Vivek Associates, Mumbai
  13. Charan Singh
  14. Sameer Dua, Deputy General Manager ( Sales and Marketing), Precision Rubber Industries Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
  15. Dr. G. P. Nair, Technical Adviser (Textiles),P I Director, Mudra Lifestyles Ltd., Mumbai



4 Responses

  1. Ravi Kumar

    June 23, 2011 5:55 pm

    It is pretty immature on the part of 86 Indians Petition to the Iranian Government for Immediate Release of the staff and faculty of the Bahá’í Institute of Higher Education.. As most of these eminent personalities are highly educated – some even authorities on law – it would have been appropriate that they should have verified the facts before making a petition. Has anyone of these personalities checked with the Government of Iran? Are petitions to be signed purely on single side of the story? On whose influence are signatures taken? Do these personalities know that the Government of India cannot support a resolution which is country specific?

    More here


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