After issuing 16 show-cause notices in a semester including 12 on a single day, the English and Foreign Language University (EFLU) has initiated disciplinary action against 11 students for staging protests last month.
The students in the Hyderabad varsity were protesting for the right to free speech, which they claimed had been curbed by the university on several occasions in the recent past.
Action would include suspension from the hostel and stopping of PhD fellowships for three to six months, varsity officials told the Times of India.
Speaking to TOI, Prakash Kona, proctor of Eflu, also said "Reply on show-cause notice from students was considered as an explanation. The board has the liberty to explore options and seek explanation, whether it is written or a personal interaction.”
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.
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."
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 out of the 300-odd participants in the protest soon received show-cause notices.
Many students have taken to social media to protest this latest move by the university's authorities. One Facebook page titled 'Bring Back EFLU' that stemmed from the protests wrote:
On 15th October we as a student community protested against the regressive and insensitive attitude of the administration. The protest was the end result of the frustration of the students after running from pillar to post for months in the admin seeking reasons as to why elections was not being conducted in EFLU.. We gathered to protest the erosion of our democratic rights, the encroachment on our spaces, and the slow deterioration of our freedom on campus. The protest was entirely peaceful, did not disrupt the academic or administrative functioning of the university, and did not use any defamatory language or involve intimidatory tactics. It stemmed from the genuine concern of the students to make the university a better place.
Twelve students who took part in the protest were rewarded for their troubles with show causes holding them responsible for inciting violence on campus and being involved in anti-university activities. The follow up to these show causes were issued on 5th November just after the notification for the elections were issued... Students who involved themselves in issues that concerned the whole university have been targeted and silenced. The disciplinary action even concerns people who were not on campus on the day of the protests and people who were not active in the protests. This shows the blatant arrogance of the administration and their belief that they can implement any decision on campus without being answerable to the students. Our legitimate fight for justice and our democratic rights on campus should not end with the show causes or the disciplinary actions that have ensued. When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty