On February 22, 2022, police clashed with and arrested Aliah University students protesting the murder of a local activist and alumnus Anish Khan.
Hundreds of students rallied in south Kolkata and began a march to a government office located in what is called the Writers’ Building. Students changed their protest route several times to evade the police. On College Street, clashes broke out when some of the student attempted to bypass police barricades. Police baton charged students and, according to at least one report, used a water cannon against students. An unspecified number of students were arrested.
Scholars at Risk is concerned by police using force and arresting students in an effort to restrict the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly — 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. While state security forces have a responsibility to maintain safety and order, they also have an obligation to refrain from actions intended to restrict nonviolent expressive activity and to refrain from disproportionate use of force. The use of force and arrests to restrict nonviolent student expression undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.