In what is seen as a clampdown on students, the University of Hyderabad administration authorized the Chief Security Officer to raid hostels at any giving point of time, videograph and photograph the events to ‘safeguard the interest of the university’.
Friday’s order, however, has been unanimously rejected by the student community.
The order also gives full authority to the Chief Security Officer to summon any student on suspicious grounds.
“Keeping in view the situation prevailing in the campus, the undersigned has authorized the Chief Security Officer to take photographs of the activities, videographing of the events, checking of ID cards, confiscation of banned substances, questioning the suspected activity, preventing the unauthorized entry, inspection of the hostel rooms/play grounds/open areas of campus on suspicious grounds, unlawful activities and any other activity against the rules and regulations to safeguard the interest of the University,” reads the UoH order.
The move by UoH comes on the back of its decision to suspend 10 students for misconduct and verbal abuse after they protested against a hostel raid.
On November 3, hostel warden, deputy chief warden along with security guards raided the men’s Hostel-J in the university to check if girls were staying over, which is against the guidelines of the administration.
Accusing the authorities of moral policing, several students restricted the entry of the officials into the hostel. While students protested, raising slogans against the officials, the situation soon spiralled out of control, with the police having to be called in.
Days after the protest, UoH suspended 10 students with their suspensions ranging from six months to two years.
Students unanimously condemn order
Student outfits irrespective of affiliation condemned Friday’s order, calling it “undemocratic” and against the idea of the university.
Speaking to TNM, Ambedkar Students’ Association leader, Dontha Prashanth strongly condemned the order. He said, “This is not the first time that the university is trying to stifle students. Velivada (the place where Rohith Vemula spent his last days after suspension) has been under surveillance by authorities constantly. This vigilance and creating an unjustified atmosphere is unheard of in any corner of the country. This surveillance is nothing but the administration looking at every student as a ‘criminal.’”
Lashing out at Vice Chancellor Podile Appa Rao and the administrators, he alleged, “All the criminals running the university are viewing the students as criminals.”
Anju Rao from Congress’ student union, NSUI said, "It is absolutely unfair to impose a blanket rule on all the students, for a single incident involving a few students."
She also dismisses the administration's claims that there was no moral policing involved.
Anju says, "Nothing that the administration is doing, is proportionate to the incident that took place. It can definitely be handled differently. They are blowing up an incident that does not warrant such a reaction."
"This is an Emergency-like situation, and is similar to what the BJP government is doing at the Centre," she adds.
Questioning the university's intentions behind the raid, she says, "The university, which has several issues to deal with, is concentrating on this issue alone. Wardens, who have never visited the hostel to take stock of the facilities provided to students, seem to be taking great interest to actually go from room to room, just on a complaint that a girl was present in the boy's hostel."
Inala Uday, UoH President of ABVP, the BJP-linked students’ union, called the move ‘anti-student’. He said, “The administration is trying to make the university a hostile space for the past six months. They have been conspiring to bring these anti-student rules for long. They have legitimatized their actions after the recent scuffle between the students and hostel wardens.”
Meanwhile, the Students’ Union has called for a protest at Velivada against the suspension of the 10 students. Police have reported secured the university gates, preventing media persons from covering the event.
With Inputs from Nitin