On May 26, 2023, police assaulted and detained students protesting in Jalandhar City for the payment of scholarships. At least nine students were detained.
The students, who were from multiple institutions, were demanding the government release the scholarship money and claimed that without it, they were unable to gain admission to universities. At least 100 students gathered in a plaza. After the students refused to disperse when ordered, the police beat the students and detained at least nine. On a video, a group of police holding sticks are seen shoving and slapping students. Students’ phones were reportedly confiscated as well. The protestors were brought to a local police station and released shortly after.
The police denied the accusations and stated that they did not detain or assault students. They claimed that some individuals who were not students disrupted traffic and that police intervened to stop them.
Scholars at Risk is concerned by police using force against and detaining students for peacefully exercising 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 respect and refrain from restricting or punishing the nonviolent exercise of such rights. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and democratic society generally.
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)