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).