On July 7, 2021, police fired tear gas and used batons against Islamia College Peshawar (ICP) students during a protest organized by the Khalil Students Organization (KSO).
Starting on July 6, members of the KSO, a student group of the Khalil tribe of Peshawar, organized a protest to demand a reduction in student fines, the resignation and replacement of the treasurer and registrar of ICP, and the independence of student residences.
On July 7, students reportedly met with the ICP administration about their demands. While the administration reportedly accepted some of their demands, they did not accept the resignation of the treasurer and registrar. Students reportedly left the meeting and protested the administration’s decision.
About 200 students marched off campus, through a main road in Peshawar, blocking traffic. Police reportedly fired tear gas and hit students with batons in an apparent attempt to disperse them and resume the flow of traffic. Some of the students reportedly threw rocks at police. At least 12 students were reportedly injured. Police reportedly arrested three students.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of force and clashes between police and students during a student protest. While state authorities have a responsibility to ensure safety and security, they should also exercise restraint and ensure that their actions are proportionate and do not restrict or retaliate against nonviolent student expression. Likewise, while students have a right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they must exercise these rights peacefully and responsibly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such actions undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).