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 28, 2023

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Imprisonment

Institution(s):Rajasthan University

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 28, 2023, student activists from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and police clashed at Rajasthan University. Police officials detained at least twelve student protestors.

The clashes occurred in the context of the university’s governing committee meeting, which was scheduled to discuss student demands to improve education and facilities. At the meeting, ABVP and NSUI students both protested, demanding reduced fees, increased student admissions, and more affordable housing at Rajasthan University.

Police charged the activists with batons and detained several students after the students broke through a police barricade to reach the vice-chancellor’s secretariat. ABVP and NSUI leaders condemned the police actions, stating that the protest was peaceful. They also questioned police interference on campus. Police officials said that they resorted to batons only after being unable to otherwise control the situation.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of violence in the course of a student protest. While state authorities have the right to take reasonable measures to ensure order, they must also exercise restraint and refrain from disproportionate actions, actions that may result in unnecessary harm, and or actions which encroach on the 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. Likewise, while students have the right to publicly assemble and express themselves on and off campus, such actions must be conducted peacefully and responsibly. Violence in the course of an on-campus protest, coming from any source, 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)