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: January 18, 2024

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Maharaja’s College

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 18, 2024, around 20 unidentified members of the Fraternity Movement, the student wing of the Welfare Party of India, and the Kerala Students Union (KSU), the student wing of the Congress party, attacked Nasser Abdul Rahman, a unit secretary of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), a left-wing student organization affiliated with the Communist Party of India, at an on-campus hostel at Maharaja’s College.

The attack took place a day after Fraternity Movement members stabbed assistant professor Nizamuddin KM and accused him of giving preferential treatment to SFI and (see report).

The students approached Rahman at 1:00 a.m. at the student hostel and stabbed him. Rahman was transported to the hospital for his injuries.

On January 19, police arrested a KSU member and undergraduate environmental chemistry student in connection to the attack. On the same day, college officials convened an emergency meeting to address the escalating tension between student groups. The officials decided to temporarily close the campus and investigate the clashes between the groups.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about students violently attacking other students for their affiliation with a student group. Students must refrain from violence, especially on campus. State and university authorities should take steps to prevent and respond to such attacks, including by carrying out investigations and holding perpetrators accountable, in accordance with international human rights standards. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, violent attacks on campus undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.

Sources:
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)
https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/maharajas-college-clash-sfi-unit-secretary-abdul-nasser-stabbed-in-early-morning-assault/article67751132.ece
https://www.thenewsminute.com/kerala/student-organisations-clash-at-kochis-maharajas-college-shut-down-indefinitely
https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/sfi-leader-stabbed-in-maharaja-s-college-allegations-raised-against-fraternity-activists-1.9249679
https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/sfi-reacts-to-attack-on-activist-in-ernakulam-maharaja-s-college-1.9249798
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/maharajas-college-violence-police-nab-one-accused/articleshow/107003115.cms
https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/college-shut-after-prof-student-leader-stabbed-in-kochi-101705602908637.html