The Hyderabad Central University has been seething with anger ever since the unfortunate demise of Rohith Vemula, a PhD scholar, who commited suicide on 17th January 2016. Since then, the university saw unprecedented protests and it resonated well all across the country. It was one of the few issues when a dalit cause garnered so much public support and media coverage and rightly so.
However, university restored to its normalcy after the prime accused (for abetting the alleged institutional murder of Rohith Vemula) and VC of the university, Prof. Appa Rao Podile went on an indefinite leave as if never to return. But to everyone’s disappointment, the VC decided to comeback, since then, things went horribly wrong in the university. The VC’s return, on 22nd of March, triggered resentment and protests once again and the university witnessed one of the brutal crackdowns in history, on protesting students with callous lathicharge, beatings and abuses. Reportedly, students resorted to vandalism and stone pelting which called for harsher measures by the police.
Around 40 students including 2 faculties have been arrested and charged with criminal offences, protesters claimed, on whims of the police and vested interests. The bail pleas of the arrested people have been turned down by the local court. Gross violation of human rights and law happened when the arrested students were not produced before the magistrate within 24 hours as the law provides. Neither were they allowed to make calls to their families nor were allowed to meet with their lawyers for over 2 days or so.
Meanwhile when all this happened, the Students’ Body claimed that the VC laid a siege on the university and locked down the campus with messes closed, Power and Wifi shut down, no water supply and dysfunctional ATMs. Adding to this misery, hundreds of policemen kept roaming around menacingly with no media and visitors allowed inside the campus. After two days of ‘undeclared emergency’, Food, Water, Wifi and Power supplies have been restored.
Since no media were allowed, the news of lock down of university didn’t spread across. Small it may, Protesters managed to mobilize some support by posting videos of police brutality on social media and YouTube. JNU, TISS and some other educational institutions have come in full support of the protesters demanding immediate sacking of VC and immediate unconditional release of arrested students and faculties of the varsity. Andhra Pradesh State human Rights commission (APSHRC) has also slapped a notice on varsity’s VC Apparao, asking him to reply on the accusations of human rights violation in the university.
After several days of denial in the face of media barring, finally the issue made to the Telangana assembly: leaders from opposition parties of MIM and Congress insisted on a debate on the police brutality on the University of Hyderabad’s students. Chief Minister, KCR, agreed to the demand of taking this issue up, about the recall of VC, with PM Modi. He added, central universities administration doesnt come under the ambit of state governemt but he will try to sort this out and hopes for a postive outcome within two-three days.However, he blamed the opposition of taking political mileage out of it.