On March 24, 2019, a violent clash between groups of student activists at Himachal Pradesh University injured more than a dozen students, and reportedly led to nine arrests.
The incident began when members of the Marxist Students’ Federation of India (SFI) encountered the Hindu nationalist Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on a cricket field, early in the morning of March 24. It is unclear what sparked the altercation, which quickly became violent, with reports of batons, cricket bats and wickets, and swords being used. As many as 17 students were reportedly injured; were all later hospitalized. Nine of the students were later arrested, and the university established a committee to investigate the incident.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence between student groups on campus. While students have a right to freedom of expression and assembly, they have an obligation to exercise these rights in a nonviolent and responsible manner. Violence between student groups endangers the wider higher education community and undermines academic freedom and institutional autonomy.