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: February 07, 2019

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Jamia Millia Islamia

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 7, 2019, student protesters were reportedly attacked by another group of students on the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) campus.

In early February, students at JMI began protesting against the Head of Department of Applied Arts, Professor Hafeez Ahmed, apparently based on allegations of sexual harassment and discriminatory comments and grading practices.

On February 7, roughly 150 students held a protest over Professor Ahmed. As the protesters made their way to speak with him at his office, they were reportedly attacked by another group of students. The opposing group of students reportedly beat and groped female students participating in the protest. At least one student reported that the opposing students attempted to pull off their dupattas, a shawl-like scarf. Sources indicate that at least one student was injured and admitted to a nearby hospital.

The student protesters allege that Professor Ahmed instructed the attack. Professor Ahmed has disputed this, alleging that he was being held captive inside his office by student protesters. Neither of these allegations have been confirmed as of this report.

Following the incident, JMI administration reportedly sent Professor Ahmed on leave and has suspended three students for their alleged participation in the attack.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent clashes between students during a campus protest. While students have the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they have an obligation to exercise these rights nonviolently and responsibly. Such incidents endanger members of the campus community, undermine institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.