Global Studies Colloquium: "Police and the Pandemic: The role of police in India's reverse migration from cities to villages"

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 12:30pm to 2:00pm

The Department of Global Studies' Colloquium Series is a lecture series, which has been made possible by the generosity of the Orfalea Endowment for the Master's Program in Global Studies.  The Colloquium Series strives to open and explore a wide range of interdisciplinary debates and their interaction and engagement with the global, hosting new guest speakers each quarter from UCSB and beyond.  The upcoming event will be hosted via Zoom on Wednesday, December 2th at 12:30pm. Zoom link is (Meeting ID: 842 4656 4996). Please see below for the featured talk:


Police and the Pandemic: The role of police in India's reverse migration from cities to villages

In March 2020, when India imposed arguably the world’s strictest lockdown post Covid-19 pandemic, the police became the sole face of the state. Their role was central in everything from enforcing the lockdown to sealing contamination zones to distribution of rations, etc. Media reports and social media posts gone viral carried stories of extreme dehumanisation of migrant workers, deaths in custody, mass arrests, and spraying people with disinfectants besides occasional reports depicting their human face. Common Cause, a civil society watchdog, conducted a rapid study of policing during the pandemic in three states, Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The study brings into perspective the systemic response of the police and the public’s expectations. It includes a survey of stakeholders such as aid providers and migrant workers who travelled hundreds of kilometres by foot or on bicycle. The study brings out the attitudes of the state and police personnel during health emergencies and disasters. This is the third study in a row by Common Cause on policing in India. Two other studies are about police attitudes and adequacy and citizens’ trust in and satisfaction with policing. This presentation will discuss the state of rule of law and democratic rights in India during an unprecedented reverse migration.

Vipul Mudgal is is an activist, journalist and media scholar. He is the Director and Chief Executive of Common Cause (, known for its high-impact interventions. He also heads the Inclusive Media for Change ( a clearinghouse of ideas and information on India's marginalised. A doctorate on media and terrorism in India from Leicester University, as a Nehru Fellow, Vipul has been Resident Editor at Hindustan Times in Jaipur and Lucknow, South Asia Editor at Asia Times, Bangkok, and a BBC journalist in London and Delhi. He was earlier a visiting Senior Fellow and founder-director of the Publics and Policies Program at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi. He has edited two books on media, activism and democratic participation. He works on the intersections of media, democracy and political violence. Dr Mudgal was recently a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow 2020 at the International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington DC.

For more information about the Colloquium Series, please contact Professor Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Global Studies Colloquium Director:

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations

Target Audience

Graduate Students, Faculty & Staff


Social Sciences


global studies, colloquium


Global Studies
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