One student allegedly assaulted at Hyderabad University
news Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 20:05

There is an atmosphere of confusion, fear and anger among students who are protesting against the Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile who resumed charge on Tuesday morning.

While no outsider had been allowed into the campus since Wednesday morning, students say that those who are protesting against the Vice Chancellor were not being allowed to move freely. Several students however, were going in and out of the campus. By around 8 pm, police had mostly left the campus.

One student has been taken to a hospital in Miyapur area, after students alleged that police assaulted him.

JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar who was to address the students in the university was not allowed to enter. He spoke to the media for a few minutes at around 6.15 pm before leaving.

Island

Vaikhari Aryat, a student who was among those who launched a hunger strike in the days after Rohith Vemula’s suicide, told The News Minute that the Shop Comm (shopping complex) area had been completely cut off from the rest of the campus.

A 10-minute walk from the main entrance to the campus, the Shop Comm area was the original centre of protest: here, the five suspended students – Rohith Vemula, Dontha Prashant, Vijay Kumar, Sheshaiah Chemudugunta, Velpua Sunkanna – had set up the Velivada (the Dalit ghetto), a makeshift hut with posters of leaders who inspired the Ambedkar Students Association. In the days after Rohith’s death, the students met there, and continued to protest.

On Wednesday, however, students say that since afternoon at least, the police had cut off the area completely. One student, was allegedly assaulted here by the police and had to be hospitalized.

Raghu (name changed) told The News Minute that there was a heavy presence of police in the Shop Comm area.

Asked if he could send photos, Raghu said: “Yesterday they were breaking the phones of students who took pictures. Police are allowing some students (those not in the protest) to walk around freely. But the university security knows who the protesters are and we are scared.”

Assault

Since Tuesday, non-teaching staff have struck work. Since none of the 20 hostels on campus served food since Tuesday night to the students, some of them took it upon themselves to do it.

A professor with the Economics department, Lakshminarayana, told The News Minute that, in the morning, a group of students were trying to set up a kitchen near the Shop Comm area and alleged that the police assaulted one of them.

“They just began to beat them. No warning was given to ask them to leave,” Lakshminarayana said. He said that the police assaulted Uday Bhanu (29), a PhD scholar from the Telugu department. Some of the faculty members intervened and rescued him. He was taken to the campus health centre, but the doctors said he had to be hospitalized.

Speaking to The News Minute from her hostel in the north campus, Vaikhari said that her friends called her earlier in the evening and told her to stay away from the Shop Comm.

“The Shop. Comm is like an island. They have completely cut it off and no one is allowed there. My friends called and told us to stay away from the Shop. Comm. Police are rounding up anyone who is in the Shop Comm. I can’t reach them anymore, they are not answering their phones,” she said.

A student who was cooking earlier in the day, said that they were determined to cook and stay in the campus as long as they could. Almost in tears, she said: “We have holidays because of Holi, but we will stay here as long as we can. Most of the campus shops are closed and there are no supplies. The ATMs are locked up. Wherever we go, police stop us and ask us what we are doing.”

Demand

Protesting students and faculty members have just one refrain. The Vice Chancellor Apparao should go. Several of the students who spoke to The News Minute said that he should be arrested under the SC /ST Act.

Professor Lakshminarayana said: “Apparao should not be allowed to return as the VC, because it is an administrative post. If he has to return, he must only be allowed to do so as a professor.”

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