Rohith Vemula
The University of Hyderabad saw tense scenes on Wednesday as journalists and security personnel got into tiffs at multiple points.
Media not allowed beyond white line. Copyright @ The News Minute.

The University of Hyderabad (UoH) witnessed tense scenes on Wednesday as media persons were denied access to enter the campus.

Journalists and security personnel got into small tiffs at multiple points on the occasion of the second death anniversary of PhD scholar Rohith Vemula.

Rohith was found hanging in a hostel room on campus and had written a suicide note that sparked outrage across the country.

Even as members of the Ambedkar Students' Association (ASA), of which Rohith was a part, held a rally near the university's 'velivada', the security refused to allow the media inside.

Officials drew an arbitrary line, roughly 20 metres away from the main gate, and asked media persons to shoot from behind it, much to the anger of journalists present.

"It's almost like a Lakshman Rekha. How can they make such a decision?" one journalist asked.

"It's ridiculous. They can't dictate such terms citing security. They aren't allowing us into the campus anyway, but to bar us from the main gate is outright wrong," said another.

Many recalled earlier days, when they had complete access to the varsity, and questioned if a public university could issue such gag orders on the press.

Media persons gathered at the gate by around 3 pm and were soon shooed away by the university's security.

In fact, there was lack of clarity on whether the media was allowed to cover the event organised by the students to commemorate Rohiths death, until late on Tuesday night.

It was on Wednesday morning that the varsity finally said that the media would not be allowed.

"...you are hereby informed that press meet is permitted outside the main gate only" a press release by Dean of Student Welfare, Professor Debashis Acharya said. (Image attached).

History

The issue of allowing the media into UoH has been a long standing one, dating back to Rohith's death in 2016.

Following the PhD scholar's death, the university moved the Hyderabad High Court and got an order that barred the media's entry into campus.

Last year too, a journalist from Frontline had been detained for alleged trespass, and handed over to the police, before he was released without a case being filed.