SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: October 04, 2018

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Sharda University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 4, 2018, violent clashes broke out during a demonstration at Sharda University (SU).

Hundreds of students had gathered on campus for a demonstration to demand administrative action following a violent altercation between Afghan and Kashmiri classmate days earlier. Some of the protesters reportedly dragged Afghan students out of a classroom and attacked them. Kashmiri students on campus were also reportedly targeted and beaten during the ensuing violence.

Student witnesses reported the group of individuals who allegedly incited the violence were not students, but rather members of an off-campus Hindu-right extremist group.

SU administration reportedly shut down the campus for the following three days. On October 9, SU administration suspended three students and put ten students on probation in connection to the violence. The administration also reportedly opened an investigation into the violence and the entry of outsiders onto campus. Police reportedly filed a complaint against three hundred fifty individuals under charges of rioting.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence during campus demonstrations. Students and other groups have the right to freedom of expression and assembly on campus, but those rights must be exercised in a manner consistent with university values, including non-violence and social responsibility. Violence not only poses a direct threat to the immediate campus community, but also undermines academic freedom, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.