On April 21, 2022, students on the campus of Ambedkar University were reportedly attacked by university authorities as they attempted to engage in a nonviolent protest.
The students, members of a group known as the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), had organized a march to express solidarity with individuals in Jahangirpuri, Delhi, who had been evicted from their homes, and to protest against the spread of violence more generally. Campus security arrived and reportedly began tearing the protesters’ placards, pushing students, and erecting barricades to stop the protest. In a statement, the university claimed that there were “reports that outsiders may be present in the march and cause disturbance in the university and also interrupt classes. . .”
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the disruption, by a university administration, of a nonviolent student protest. While university authorities may take reasonable steps to ensure safety and order on campus, such efforts must be proportionate to the situation, with due regard for applicable human rights including freedom of expression, freedom of association, and academic freedom. Disruption of nonviolent student protests erodes academic freedom and democratic society generally.