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: August 04, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Imprisonment | Prosecution

Institution(s):Jai Narayan Vyas University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On August 4, 2021, police attacked students with batons and arrested three students during a protest organized by the Jai Narayan Vyas University (JNVU) Student Union.

On July 29, students began protests demanding the suspension and waiver of student fees, to accommodate the closure of the university due to COVID-19. JNVU suspended three students, including the JNVU Student Union president, Ravindra Singh Bahti for their participation in one of the protests (see report).

On August 4, the JNVU Student Union organized a march from campus to the Collectorate Office of Jodhpur, a government building, to demand a waiver of student fees based on the disruption of classes caused by COVID-19. When students reached the government building, police attacked them with batons in an attempt to disperse them. Police arrested Bahti and two other students for violating COVID-19 regulations and disturbing the peace.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of force and arrest of students by police, in response to the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly — conduct that is protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Instruments and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party. While state authorities have a right to maintain public order and safety, they should refrain from the use of force and ensure that their response is proportionate to the situation and does not result in harm to students or other protesters. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, the use of force and arrests, especially when intended to restrict student expression, undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.