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: June 27, 2023

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Various Institutions

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 27, 2023, Delhi police detained Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists who were staging a protest at the Chief Minister’s residence.

According to protesters, the police were deployed to the protest in high numbers and with extra barricades. ABVP activists were protesting against the state government’s failure to implement fire safety measures at coaching institutes in Delhi. On June 15, a fire broke out at a coaching institute in Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar area. More than two hundred students were at the institute at the time of the fire, with over sixty students having been hospitalized. In addition to demanding stronger fire safety measures, the protestors also demanded compensation for those injured.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of violence in the course of detaining nonviolent student protesters. While state authorities have the right to implement reasonable laws and regulations to ensure order and protect state officials, they must also exercise restraint and refrain from actions that may result in unnecessary harm. In addition, state authorities must allow students to peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly – 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 force 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)