The students in Dr YSR National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management’s (NITHM) campus in Hyderabad's Gachibowli area refused to budge after a week of protests as they began a hunger strike on Wednesday.
The students, who had earlier shot off a letter to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, are demanding that the institute's Director, Chinnam Reddy, must be sacked.
The students have been demanding that the Director must be sacked, alleging that he was 'bending rules according to his own will' and was constantly changing the examination pattern, which was causing the students great stress. They also alleged that the head of the institute was functioning with impunity, citing political influence.
On Wednesday, the Telangana unit of the Congress extended support to the cause, with official spokesperson Krishank Mane meeting the students, even as some members of the faculty also backed the protest.
"The NITHM which was started on a beautiful campus is seeing protests. Students studying are sitting on a hunger strike in the hot sun while the faculty is also supporting their students," Krishank said in a post on Facebook.
"The institution is being used for cinema shootings, has given its space to a corporate company for rent, and while students are to attend their exams, the Principal is on a 40-day holiday in Las Vegas," he added.
"Chinnam Reddy is not qualified and was appointed as the Director of this prestigious institution without an interview as he is the brother of Seri Subash Reddy, personal secretary of KCR and Chairman of Mining Corporation," Krishank alleged.
The students said that they also received support from the Telangana Joint Action Committee and professor Kodandaram's team.
The faculty is now planning to meet the state's Tourism Minister with a representation by the students, who have said that they will continue their relay hunger strike till the Director is sacked.
NITHM is affiliated to the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Hyderabad.