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 27, 2021

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):University of Delhi

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 27, 2021, police detained as many as 28 students peacefully protesting on the University of Delhi campus.

Members of the All India Students Association organized a hunger strike demanding the complete reopening of the campus, which apparently had been partially closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A heavy police force arrived on campus and arrested the students. Police did not tell reporters their basis for detaining the students. Police denied students’ claims that they used force against them

Available sources do not suggest the students engaged in any violent or obstructive activity; images and video show the students displaying signs, sitting in circles, and chanting.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary detention of students peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly on campus — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party. State authorities have an obligation from detaining or using force in response to the nonviolent and responsible exercise of such rights. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, arbitrary detentions in response to on-campus student expression undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.