On September 19, 2019, members of a student organization reportedly stormed Jadavpur University (JU), damaged campus property, and violently attacked students following a campus protest.
Members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a right-wing student organization, organized a campus event with Babul Supriyo, the Minister of State for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change and other members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A group of students reportedly protested Suprioyo’s presence on campus and asked him to leave. When Supriyo refused to leave, ABVP members reportedly called ABVP members from other higher education institutions to come to JU’s campus to support Supriyo.
Around two hundred ABVP members armed with sticks reportedly stormed JU’s campus and set fire to bicycles, blocking the road to the campus. ABVP members reportedly destroyed campus property in the Undergraduate Arts building, including damaging furniture and spray painting “ABVP” in the Arts union room. ABVP members allegedly hit a documentary filmmaker on the head with a stick and destroyed their camera and injured at least one student. The ABVP members reportedly left campus once they heard that Supriyo and the other BJP members safely left campus.
Scholar at Risk is concerned about violent, targeted attacks on students and damage to campus property in apparent retaliation for their nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. State and university authorities have a responsibility to prevent and respond to such attacks, including by investigating and holding perpetrators responsible. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, violent attacks on campus undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.