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SAU Condemned for Restrictions on International Students

AAMSC of SAU took to social media to issue a message condemning the University’s efforts to steer away foreign national students from activities such as journalism and political demonstrations.


On 29th August 2022, the Aijaz Ahmad Memorial Study Circle (AAMSC), a Marxist study group run by students at the South Asian University (SAU), took to social media to issue a message condemning the University’s efforts to deter foreign national students from activities such as journalism and political demonstrations. In the statement, the study group attested an undertaking of the University for the same.

The Undertaking asks the students to sign a statement that they will “not engage in journalism, political activities, activities prejudicial to the interests of India or, activities which could be embarrassing India’s relation with any foreign country.” 

The notice issued. (Credits: Aijaz Ahmad Memorial Study Circle)

The Undertaking categorizes journalism, and other mentioned activities as “illegal”. In their statement, AAMSC pointed out that the South Asian University is an intergovernmental institution formed by the SAARC countries, and only territorially situated in India. Therefore, the University cannot issue notices with only India’s interests in mind.

Asking foreign-national students to sign an undertaking in light of favoring the stature of one of the SAARC nations, India, is discriminatory.

said Aishwarya Ahmad, a former SAU student from Bangladesh, to DU Beat. 

In fact, on its website, the University defines itself to be ‘an international university established by the eight member nations of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) viz. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka’.

Students outside India are already prone to facing more challenges, first and foremost being language proficiency and currency. In the midst of all these, asking them to sign an undertaking even before they are officially part of this university and, in some cases barring their career prospects in terms of job preferences (since journalism has been claimed to be an ‘illegal’ activity) is reprehensible.

continued Ahmad

The Undertaking issued by the University further states that not abiding with Indian laws would lead to prosecution as per Indian law, or the individual could be deported to their own country. Additionally, foreign national students will not be allowed to “visit any border/restricted/protected/prohibited/tribal areas in India.” 

When asked if previous students had ever signed such a clause, Ahmad said, “No such undertaking was signed by the students previously, and the legacy of that should be followed in the coming years too. The AAMSC has demanded the University withdraw the Undertaking, calling the restrictions “an authoritarian clause”. 

Read Also: “Gargi College shushes Karamchari Union Protests – DU Beat

Featured Image Credits: Indian Express

Shiuli Sural

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