On March 14, 2023, police detained several members of the student wing of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS). The students were peacefully protesting outside of Raj Bhavan, the governor’s residence, demanding clearance of the Telangana Universities Common Recruitment Board Bill.
The State Assembly had passed the Board Bill in September 2022 and sent it to Governor Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan for approval. After more than five months with no action from the governor, recruitment at universities had been delayed, stalling the recruitment of several thousand teaching positions. The protesters held signs and chanted slogans in front of the main gates of Raj Bhavan. A heavy police force was present, with the police detaining several members, taking them to the nearest police stations on the grounds that they had not obtained permission for the protest.
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)