On January 31, 2022, police used force against students protesting on the Bangalore University campus.
Members of the Bangalore University Post Graduation and Research Scholars Forum (BUPGRSF) gathered on campus to protest against the removal of a portrait of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, an Indian social reformer who fought discrimination in Hindu society, from campus. At the same time, members of the student organization Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party party, gathered on campus to protest over the condition of campus housing and a delay in the distribution of grades.
Sources indicate that an argument broke out between the two student groups, apparently over a dispute relating to permission to protest on campus. Sources do not provide a clear account as to whether there were physical altercations among the students; however, it appears that police intervened and hit the protesting students with batons. The groups’ student leaders reported that several students were hospitalized for their injuries.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence during an on-campus protest. While state authorities have a responsibility to ensure safety and security, they must exercise restraint and refrain from disproportionate responses and actions that endanger members of the campus community or that retaliate against or deter student expression. Likewise, while students have a right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they must exercise these rights peacefully and responsibly, refraining from physical violence or other actions that may harm other members of the higher education community.