MEA Restrictions on Online Events Reflect ‘New Level of Paranoia on the Part of Indian State’ – By Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
Revised official guidelines which state that India’s publicly-funded universities, professors and administrators need prior approval from the Ministry of External Affairs if they want to hold online international conferences or seminars on matter relating to the security of the Indian state or issues which are “clearly related to India’s internal matters”, have drawn flak from leading academics and organisations in the United States.
The criticism is indicative of the anger within the academic community at what is being seen as an attempt at official censorship of scholarly pursuits.
The revised guidelines – issued by the MEA in November 2020 and forwarded by the Ministry of Higher Education to universities across India last month – come at a time when most conferences are being organised online in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, there is a strong suspicion that these restrictions would impact the ability of academics and administrators in India to interact with their counterparts abroad and vice-versa….