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: July 22, 2019

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Kerala

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On July 22, violence erupted between police and student demonstrators from the University of Kerala resulting in injuries to fifteen people.

Students organized a protest in Thiruvananthapuram to demand a government inquiry into a July 12 stabbing on campus. During the protest, students reportedly threw objects at police officers and vehicles, and police reportedly beat students and fired tear gas, smoke grenades, and water cannons at student demonstrators. It is unclear who instigated the violence. Thirteen student demonstrators, a police officer, and a cameraman for a media outlet were injured. Police arrested six student demonstrators.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence during a student protest. While state authorities have a responsibility to ensure security and order, they should also ensure that their response is proportional to the situation and does not endanger students or interfere with peaceful expressive activity. Likewise, while students and other groups have a right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they must exercise these rights peacefully and responsibly. Violence during a student protest endangers the higher education community and undermines academic freedom and institutional autonomy.