Pro-Palestine solidarity protest by Indian students suppressed by force

Scores of student activists were detained and prevented from holding a protest outside the Israeli embassy in New Delhi

October 24, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Photo: Owais Siddiqui/X

Progressive social movements condemned the use of force against the student and youth groups who tried to hold a “Free Palestine” protest in front of the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, on October 23. The scores of students and youth organizers gathered in the demonstration demanded humanitarian intervention by the Indian government.

The demonstration was organized by several left-wing and progressive groups, including Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and All India Students’ Association (AISA). Organizers from these groups were manhandled at APJ Abdul Kalam Road and then immediately detained by the Delhi Police.

“What we need to convey (during the protest) is that the war in Palestine needs to stop,” one of the activists said before she was bundled in an armored vehicle by the Delhi Police, along with others.

“Terror on Palestine needs to stop,” she added. “Israel is constantly bombarding, and it seems like it is nothing more than a genocide. The Ambassador of Israel is requested to stop the terrorist attack on Palestine. The process of colonization needs to stop right now.”

According to Aishe Ghosh, president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU), at least 30 students from different unions were present near the Israel embassy.

Ghosh said students “simply wanted to hold a solidarity protest in favor of Palestine. However, the police apprehended them and forcefully prevented them from holding any protest.”

As the news of detentions of activists spread, hundreds of students from several universities across Delhi, including Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia marched out in solidarity, condemning the use of force against the activists and the ongoing atrocities committed by the Israeli state in Palestine.

“From the river to the sea. Palestine will be free!!” students chanted as they marched near the Israeli embassy holding a protest on October 24.

While condemning the use of force to silence the student union, AISA released a statement questioning the unsettling silence of India’s Ministry of External Affairs when it comes to the Israeli atrocities on Palestine. 

“India extends aid, yet its citizens find their voices stifled when it comes to expressing solidarity openly. In the face of this disparity, the cry echoes louder: ‘No more imperialist chains, no more state violence!’ The call resounds across the nation: Will India’s silence persist, or will it rise in unity?” the student body asked.