Members of the NSCRPS and Dalit students from OU came to blows at the Hyderabad Press Club over allegations that Praveen Kumar, Secretary of the TSWREIS was ‘promoting urban naxalism’ at institutions run for the welfare of marginalised students.

Brawl in Hyd press club A larger conspiracy at play against Praveen Kumar of TSWREIS
news Controversy Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 20:31

Mild tension prevailed at the Press Club of Hyderabad in Somajiguda on Tuesday, after a group of Bahujan students attacked Karne Srisailam, the National president of National SC Reservation Parirakshana Samithi (NSCRPS) for making wild allegations against RS Praveen Kumar, Secretary of the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS). The TSWREIS is an institution which runs residential schools for students from marginalized communities. Karne had convened a press meet to make allegations against Praveen Kumar, alleging that he was “promoting anti-national activities” in the schools run under his supervision.

The TSWREIS runs 268 residential educational institutions, which provide free food, education and residential facilities to thousands of underprivileged children every year. Funded and operated by the Telangana government, it caters to students from primary level to the undergraduate level. The society has many accomplishments to its name. Just last month, 506 students belonging to tribal and social welfare schools cracked the JEE Mains for 2019. Students from the welfare institutions had an impressive pass percentage of 84.31% in the recently declared Intermediate Board results, compared to the state’s average pass percentage of 64.8%.

Until a few years ago, the society was known to perform poorly, but Praveen has been credited as the man who turned it all around. SWAROES, a movement based on the ideologies of Jyothi Rao Phule and Dr. B R Ambedkar, consists of alumni of the Society, who seek to empower those who come from similar backgrounds, with the help of ten commandments unique to the movement.

Alleging that Welfare Schools in Praveen Kumar’s supervision have turned into 'religious conversion centres', Karne claimed that the “brainwashed” students were sent to Indian Army in a bid to compromise national security.  Besides, he also accused Praveen Kumar of misappropriating funds.

These wild allegations without any basis evoked strong reactions from Bahujan students from Osmania University who physically attacked Karne at the press club. However, the journalists present at the venue thwarted further attacks on him. During the commotion, it was reported that some equipment belonging to the media were also vandalized. Following the attack on Karne, his aides also resorted to violence on the students.

Subsequently, the Panjagutta police filed cases against eight persons for assaulting Karne. Some of the persons who attacked Karne were PhD scholars from Osmania University.

Speaking to TNM, P Alexander, a Dalit scholar, who has been booked by the police for allegedly assaulting Karne said that he went along with few of his fellow scholars to question the ‘credibility of allegations’ and rebut them right before the media.

Alexander said, "We went there to counter-question and expose his ill intentions before the media. However, without answering our questions, he called us names and further mounted his attack on Praveen Kumar."

Alexander also alleged that Karne is backed by the RSS and the BJP to bring disrepute to Praveen Kumar and institutions which are on the progressive path. He said, "Karne and his allies under the guise of a pro-Dalit organisation have been doing an online smear campaign against TSWREIS, and we have been countering them from time to time. Karne and his organisation are unable to digest the success of students belonging to marginalised sections. And this time, they brazened it out and tried giving legitimacy to these allegations without providing any evidence to support their claims."

Prior to convening the press meet, Karne had compiled a list of these allegations and submitted a 12-page letter to Governor ESL Narasimhan earlier this week. According to the letter which TNM has accessed, Karne alleges that Praveen Kumar supports Jignesh Mevani, the Dalit MLA from Gujarat and academician Kanche Ilaiah which, in turn, contributed to ‘urban naxalism’. “Actively supporting Mr Jignesh Mevani and hatching conspiracy which is against the interest of nation by resorting to division of people in the name of caste etc. Mr Praveen Kumar met Jignesh Mevani when he came to Hyderabad and also Kanche Ilaiah thus supporting ‘urban naxalism’,” the letter alleges.

Making another controversial allegation, the letter states that Praveen Kumar getting the sanction of Sainik Schools— which provide cadet training—  from the Telangana government was done with ‘malafide intention.’ His letter lists “getting sanction of a Sainik School from the state of Telangana with a malafide intention to send youth belongs to SC’s (Scheduled Castes) into the Army and resorting anti national activities with them” as an allegation.

Karne further claims that Praveen Kumar has been forcing students to take Bheema Deeksha— an event where converted Buddhists abstain from eating meat in the month of April in honour of Dr BR Ambekdar. He also claimed that Praveen Kumar is stopping students from celebrating Hindu festivals like Dassara. Deepavali, Ugadi, Sri Rama Navami and the state festival, Bathukamma.

Speaking to TNM, U Mohan Swaero, SWAERO’s Network State Committee Representative said that the Karne Srisailam is being backed by the RSS, the BJP and few religious seers who are unable to digest the achievements that are being recorded by students in the institutes.

When asked about the allegations of irregularities in giving contracts and calling tenders to persons of Swaeroes network he said, “There is no truth in those allegations. Open tenders will be called by Collectors or Joint Collectors of the concerned district. Person who bid for the low rate may be given the contractor. In several schools, students practice their own choice of worship. These allegations are coming out as they want to tarnish the institution’s image.”

Mohan also said that it was a new low to see a conspiracy in setting up Sainik Schools that are being overseen by army veterans. He said, “The Telangana government has sanctioned those institutions to see the presence of underprivileged youth in all sectors including the Indian Armed Forces. Making such baseless allegations shows how desperate he is to tarnish the image of the institutions and the students”.

In a rejoinder issue on Wednesday, Praveen Kumar denied the allegations, stating that he had an unblemished service of over two decades. He wrote, "All our activities are in public domain and are open for any kind of scrutiny. I wish NSCRPS members witnessed the progress that we could achieve and visited our schools and homes of the students and clarified their doubts over my functioning. It appears that they haven’t done none of the above."

In an appeal to parents and alumni, Praveen requested them to focus on 'all competitive examinations and admissions into the prestigious institutions and the best in every field.' “Everyone has a right to express their opinion in democracy. I request you to respect their right and respond to their allegations (however gut-wrenching they are) in the most democratic manner without taking law into your hands.” he said.

TNM made numerous attempts to reach out Karne over phone to seek evidence of his serious claims. However, he failed to answer the calls.


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