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: March 24, 2023

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):University of Delhi

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On March 24, 2023, police detained 11 students demonstrating at the Faculty of Arts, Delhi University against the suspension of two students from the university for screening of the BBC documentary, titled “India: The Modi Question” (see report).

As documented in videos shared by AISA, police removed the students forcibly, including by dragging and pushing them, and took them to the local police station. The students were released later that day. According to Delhi University Proctor Rajni Abbi, the students had not obtained permission from the police to hold the protest. Police had previously detained 24 students who attempted to screen the documentary at Delhi University on January 27, 2023 (see report).

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)