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: April 13, 2024

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):University of Delhi

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 13, 2024, the University of Delhi (DU) canceled a pre-approved event featuring readings of Palestinian poetry.

The event was titled ‘Let us hear a Palestinian word,’ and organized by DU Faculty of Arts professors Apoorvanand and Arjumand Ara. The noted poet and former chairman of India’s National Academy of Arts Ashok Vajpeyi was scheduled to speak at the event.

On March 19, 2024, the organizers received permission from the DU Estate department – which is responsible for managing campus facilities – to hold the event on March 22. The event was rescheduled to April 15 after March 22 was designated as a non-teaching day in celebration of Holi. The organizers again received permission from the DU Estate department to hold the event on the new date and additional permission from the dean of DU’s Faculty of Arts to reserve a room on campus for the event.

On April 13, the DU Estate department informed Apoorvanand via email that permission for the event had been rescinded. The email provided no explanation.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the cancellation of a previously approved on-campus, academic event. Higher education leaders should respect academic freedom by refraining from restrictions on academic activity. Attempts to limit academic discussion and exchange undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.

Sources:
https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-university-cancels-palestine-poetry-event-at-last-minute-claim-organisers-9272471/
https://thewire.in/education/delhi-university-cancels-event-on-palestine-without-citing-reasons-say-organisers
https://www.edexlive.com/campus/2024/Apr/17/du-permission-given-then-withdrawn-for-palestine-poetry-event-organising-prof-says-he-is-appalled