Intended for healthcare professionals

Student Life

Sound of silence

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 01 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:050132
  1. Raghav Chawla, Clegg scholar1
  1. 1BMJ

Involvement in university political life can make students key targets of repressive regimes, as Raghav Chawla explains

In October 2003, Sanjiv Kumar Karna, a 24 year old student in Nepal, was arrested and taken into police custody, along with 10 other students. Six of them were released soon after their confinement, and they reported having experienced profound torture and cross examination. The remaining five, including Karna, however, have not been heard of since.

Amnesty International (see box) has highlighted Karna's case in its 2004 Greetings Card Campaign.1 The young man's disappearance is only one of over 400 cases that Amnesty has tracked down in Nepal since August 2003, when peace talks broke down between the Nepalese government and the Communist Party of Nepal, which is led by Maoist rebels.

Karna's arrest is believed to be linked to his interest in student politics and to his former membership of a Nepalese students' organisation, which is aligned to the Communist Party. However, according to his family, Karna resigned from the organisation in 1998 and was never involved with the party.

Prisoners of conscience

Another case in Amnesty's current campaign is that of Indonesian student Ignatius Mahendra Kusuma Wardhana, a senior member of the National Democratic Student's League, and of his friend, Yoyok Eko Widodo. The two of them were sentenced to three years of imprisonment for “insulting the president or vice president” because they had burnt their photographs …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription