The notice accuses the students of inciting unrest on the campus

After receiving 12 show cause notices in a day EFLU students troll university onlineScenes from the protest
news Tuesday, October 20, 2015 - 15:44

Authorities at Hyderabad’s English and Foreign Language University (EFLU) got more than they bargained for when they issued show cause notices to students on Monday. In student lingo, they are being trolled royally, and part of the students’ ire is because the notices concern a protest demanding their right to free speech.

The EFLU administration on Monday issued 12 show-cause notices to students for protests on campus, which took place on October 15. The students were protesting demanding the right to free speech, which they claimed had been curbed by the university on several occasions in the recent past.

The notice asks students to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against them and accuses them of inciting unrest on campus and creating a potentially disturbing atmosphere in violation of the rules.

These notices bring up the total show cause notices to 16 this semester, over a period of just three months. This last round of notices appears to be the last straw. Having taken to Facebook to register their dissent when the confrontations began, in the last 24 hours the campaign has picked up dramatically, and the sarcasm is rather sharp.

When did it all begin?

The university had earlier issued notices to three students, one for screening a movie without the administration's permission, another to mess secretaries for serving chicken in the hostel mess on Gandhi Jayanti, and another for a Facebook post against the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 5.

While the mess secretaries apologized and claimed that they served chicken, as it was on the 'Friday menu,' M Sarath, a student of SFI, who was served a notice for screening the movie ‘A short film about killing’ on campus, responded otherwise.

"The administration has managed to keep all the power within by passing an ordinance that any individual, group or association cannot stage or perform anything without their consent, this may be a street theatre or a film screening. That means nothing critical of anything can be expressed on campus," he told the Times of India.

Though Sarath's show cause was condemned by the students, the issue did not pick up steam until Arjab Sarkar, another student was sent a notice for a Facebook post.

Calling it a "defamatory Facebook comment against the university," Arjab was served the notice on October 5 for a post that criticized EFLU for being ignorant to the plight of sweepers, who did the real cleaning.

Speaking to The News Minute, Arjab says "My initial notice had said that they had found my post on the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan offensive, but later they contacted me again and said that it was another post of the Heritage well that was offensive to them."

Arjab had later posted a photo of the Heritage well, a landmark on the university campus which was recently fenced with barbed wires. Arjab had posted a photograph of the well through barbed wires, with the caption 'Obscenities I say'

(The photo posted by Arjab)

The Heritage well had always been a hang out spot for students,and some claim that it was because the university did not want boys and girls meeting there.

"The Heritage Well was ignored for decades, but now suddenly they want to protect it with lights, camera and barb wires because they allege that boys and girls hang out there. The authorities have long been curtailing our freedom...they still make us work in mixed groups. So where exactly do we sit and work?" a student had told TOI.

The October 15 protests

The chain of incidents triggered a mass protest titled 'R.I.P - EFLU,' and included a late night vigil. Students turned up in black dresses and even demanded that they needed the right to unionize.

Some students even served an online show cause notice to the university on why it, "should not be considered guilty for curtailing my freedom and undermining my existence as a student."

(By October 16, the heritage well was surrounded by posters against the varsity administration)

With the mounting pressure, the university finally agreed and gave students the right to hold elections. However, the celebration of the students was short-lived, as 12 students received show-cause notices on Monday.

The online campaign

This triggered off a massive online campaign by the students, against the authorities and many of them changed their profile pictures to 'RIP EFLU' with a barbed wire running in front of it.

Entire pages have also been dedicated to mock and 'troll' the administration of the University.

Some videos mocking the incident have also cropped up.

The university has responded to the allegations of the students with replies ranging from "Action is taken based on the nature and language of comments. If the posts attack specific people, then we serve show-cause notice. Some students have a history of being provocative,” to "Seriously, it is being given more attention than it deserves. Most of these issues have been sorted already."

The administration has asked students to send their replies to the proctor's office by 5 pm on Thursday.

 

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