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: October 12, 2020

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Delhi University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 12, 2020, police arrested eight students participating in a nonviolent protest at Delhi University (DU).

Two student organizations, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS) and Students’ Federation India (SFI), organized a protest against the university’s announcement of new policies raising the cut-offs for undergraduate admission. KYS and SFI allege that the so-called high cut-off policies are discriminatory and inhibit students of lower socioeconomic status who attend public schools from gaining access to higher education. The student groups argue that the high cut-offs favor wealthy students from elite private schools and demand more transparency around the admission process.

Police reportedly arrested eight KYS protesters after they refused to disperse from the campus; they were released later the same day.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arrest of students 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 the right to free expression and association on campus, so long as those rights are exercised in a nonviolent and responsible manner. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such actions undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).—-groups-protest-against-high-du-cut-offs.html