Webinar 1

The Criminalisation of Student Activism and the Idea of Academic Freedom in India


  • This webinar was held on 23 January 2021

  • Listen to the recording on our YouTube channel here

  • See the webinar summary below

  • See key messages on our Instagram account here

  • See additional resources list below

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Webinar Summary

India has seen an alarming rise in the imprisonment of students and young academics, as well as restrictions on academic activities that are critical of the ruling powers. Instances of everyday violence on university campuses are largely left unpunished and foster an environment of fear. Students from historically oppressed castes as well as minority religious backgrounds face systemic discrimination and exclusion from higher education, with women from these groups being hit the hardest. These developments are concurrent with a cultivation of anti-intellectual discourses in academic spaces in India. The webinar will highlight the vital role of student activism in university spaces in India.


Our guest speakers

Professor Apoorvanand, Hindi Department, University of Delhi

Nabiya Khan, a poet and an activist

Hadif Nisar, student activist, and President of the Jammu and Kashmir Students' Association, University of Hyderabad


Our moderator


Aman Abhishek, Doctoral Student, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison


This webinar is co-hosted by InSAF India, Scholars At Risk, the British Association for South Asian Studies, and the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam, University College London, and the SIU University Honors Program

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Additional Resources

From Shadows to the Stars: The Defiant Politics of Rohith Vemula and the Ambedkar Students Association -- The Caravan

A List of Activists, Scholars and Scribes Whose Personal Liberty Remains at Judiciary's Mercy - The Wire

Academic Freedom is Under Attack in Modi’s India, Aman Abhishek | Human Rights News | Al Jazeera

2020-04-01 Jamia Millia Islamia | Scholars at Risk


Academic Freedom in India_Sundar and Fazili_Sept 2020

Citizen, Consumer, User_Covid-19 and the Higher Education Churn in India_D'Souza 2020 

India Status Report June 2020_Scholars At Risk

Free to Think 2020_Scholars at Risk  

Democracy Report 2020_V-Dem Institute