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: March 12, 2024

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):University of Delhi

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On March 12, 2024, police detained around 50 students peacefully protesting against the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at the University of Delhi (DU).

The CAA, which was initially passed in 2019, generated widespread criticism for discriminating against Muslim migrants by excluding them from a pathway to citizenship provided in the same law. Implementation of the legislation was halted following protests across India. On March 10, 2024 the government announced the immediate implementation of the CAA ahead of the country’s upcoming general elections.

The All India Student Association (AISA) called for a demonstration following the government’s announcement. On March 12, dozens of students gathered outside the DU Faculty of Arts building. Police detained the students shortly after the protest began and brought them to Burari police station. According to reports, the students were released minutes later and without charges.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the detention of students in an effort to restrict the nonviolent exercise of 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 refrain from restricting nonviolent expression or assembly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.