On October 10, 2018, police reportedly used tear gas on a group of Manipur University (MU) students and arrested eight student leaders during a campus protest.
Since August, MU students had organized a series of protests, alleging financial and administrative misdeeds by university leadership. Following one of these protests, on September 21, 2018, police raided a dormitory on campus and reportedly arrested a group of 90 students and six professors on charges relating to their protest activities (see report). While the majority of those taken into custody were released the next day, a group of eight students and six faculty reportedly remained in detention on October 10, when protesters demanded their release.
Students were marching toward Manipur’s administrative office when police reportedly blocked their path and reportedly fired tear gas and mock bombs to disperse them. Later, during the same protest, police arrested eight student leaders from various student unions.
The fourteen students and professors originally detained on September 21 who remained in custody were released on October 16, after a magistrate found the evidence against them to be insufficient.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence against and arrest of student protesters in order to restrict or retaliate for their exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and academic freedom — conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party. State authorities have a responsibility to refrain from restricting or retaliating against peaceful student expression, and to ensure the security of higher education communities. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and institutional autonomy