Free speech in Indian universities under threat: Amnesty

New Delhi

Amnesty International India-chapter has said that clashes at Ramjas College in New Delhi illustrated the growing threat to freedom of expression on Indian university campuses. Several people were injured in clashes between student groups at the college.
Three journalists told Amnesty that they were assaulted by members of the Hindu extremist group Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which is the student wing of RSS.
On Tuesday, a seminar on ‘Cultures of Protest’ organised at the college was cancelled after members of the ABVP obstructed the event.
“Universities are supposed to be safe spaces for debate and discussion. But the events at Ramjas College are a shameful reminder of how intimidation and threats continue to restrict free speech on university campuses,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.
“Authorities need to protect academic freedom, which is crucial to the right to education. Delhi Police must ensure that students at universities can express their opinions without fear of repression by anyone.”
Meanwhile, Hurriyet leader and the Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Political Front (PPF), Muhammad Musaddiq Aadil, in a statement in Srinagar strongly denounced the attack on Kashmiri students studying in New Delhi by members of ABVP. He said that 20 Kashmiri students – including Burhan Qurehi, the son of PPF Patron, Fazal Haq Qureshi – were injured in the attack.
The Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Salvation Movement, Zafar Akbar Butt, and the General Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Freedom League, Mohammad Ramzan Khan in their separate statements in Srinagar also condemned the assault on Burhan Qurehi.—KMS

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