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: September 05, 2020

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Delhi University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On September 5, 2020, police detained faculty and staff peacefully protesting at Delhi University over unpaid salaries.

Faculty and staff peacefully protested on the campus, demanding months of salary payments that had not been made, reportedly due to a delay in the transfer of government funding to the university. Shortly after the protest began, police detained as many as one hundred protestors, claiming that they did not have permission to hold the protest. Protestors were taken to Maurice Nagar Police Station and were later released that day.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by the detention of higher education faculty and staff participating in a peaceful campus protest — conduct that is expressly protected by 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 expressive activity and assemblies so long as they are nonviolent and responsible. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, detentions that restrict nonviolent campus expression undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.