On February 1, 2023, hundreds of nursing students affiliated with the National Student Union of India (NSUI) surrounded the residence of Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh to protest a three year delay in holding exams.
Students chanted slogans and demanded the resignation of Minister Sarang. Police dispersed students from the protest site and arrested student leader and Madhya Pradesh NSUI Medical Wing State Coordinator, Ravi Parmar for organizing the protest without prior permission. NSUI leaders organized a candle march later that evening to protest police action.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about police detaining students peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression on campus – conduct which 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. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, the use of detention to restrict or deter nonviolent student expression undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)