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: April 03, 2023

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):University of Delhi

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 3, 2023, police allegedly detained 15 students during a demonstration at the University of Delhi (DU), led by members of the All India Student’ Association (AISA).

AISA organized the protest in solidarity with students from Indraprastha Women’s College (IPWC) – which is part of DU – following a lack of security at a recent annual cultural festival called Shruti. During the event, several men scaled the College’s boundary walls after being denied entry at the main gate and harassed female students. The demonstration followed previous ones that had occurred on March 29 (see report) and March 31 (see report).

The protest took place outside of IPCW, and police erected barricades at the college’s entrance gates. According to AISA, police detained 15 students near one of the barricades and forcefully transported them to a local police station. A Twitter video shows police dragging students onto a bus. Police denied the accusation of detention, reportedly stating that the students were peacefully removed, brought to the police station, and later released.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about police allegedly detaining students for 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)