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: June 09, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Panjab University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 9, 2022, police beat students with batons as they demonstrated against the potential centralization of Panjab University (PU).

Members of various student organizations, including the Student Federation of India, Punjab Students Union, and Students for Society, marched toward the residence of Banwarilal Purohit, the Governor of Punjab, to deliver a memorandum in opposition of the potential centralization of PU. Police had erected barricades to block their path, and when they attempted to pass through , police beat the students with batons, injuring nine.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by the use of force to restrict students’ 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. State authorities have a responsibility to protect freedom of expression and assembly, and to refrain from using force to restrict such nonviolent conduct. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, the use of force to prevent peaceful student protests undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.

Sources:
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)
https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/central-status-for-pu-protesting-students-allege-lathicharge-by-police-101654808735312.html
https://www.newsclick.in/punjab-students-march-protest-centralisation-panjab-university-resolution-state-assembly
https://news.careers360.com/savepufromcentre-panjab-university-students-protest-against-conversion-central-university
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/panjab-university-not-to-be-converted-into-central-university-centre-in-parliament/articleshow/93333562.cms