Protests erupted in the University of Hyderabad on Tuesday after police barged into the campus and confisticated a laptop belonging to the All India Studentsâ€™ Association (AISA) group and detained at least six of them for screening a documentary. Police claimed that the students did not have requisite permission from the University to screen "Ram Ke Naam" or "In the name of God" - a documentary by Anand Patwardhan- and following a complaint from the administration, they had to seize the laptop and detain the students. The documentary was made in 1992 on the efforts of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for building the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Students protesting against the detention of fellow students were further outraged as police officials had entered a classroom in the university and stopped the screening.
The protesting students raised slogans against the police and blocked the main gate. Students claimed that they wouldnâ€™t back down from the protests, until the police release their friends
According to Bhaskar Sarkar, a member of the AISA, their organization had planned for the screening of the documentary in the New Seminar Hall auditorium, Social Sciences building. The Head of the Department had given the permission for the same. However, at around 3 pm, the Dean of Social Sciences, Venkat Rao had allegedly declined permission, without citing any reason.
â€śAt least 70 students had gathered for the screening, as they denied permission for its screening in the auditorium, we moved it to our classroom. But police barged into the classroom, disrupted the screening, seized the laptop and took our classmates along with them when they resisted,â€ť Bhaskar alleged.
The students allege that the University has been infringing upon their rights by making it mandatory to seek permission before holding any talk, discussion, debate or any screening.
SFI general secretary Abhishek Nandan had told TNM earlier that the administration has been working against the spirit of campus democracy.
â€śWhy is that for every event, we have to take permission from the authorities? Students irrespective of which organisation they belong to, should be free to speak wherever and whenever they want. The administrationâ€™s intervention is against the spirit of campus democracy,â€ť he had said.
Though police has been caught on video dragging the students into the police vehicle and took them to police station for a brief period, police claimed that no one was detained.
Speaking to TNM, Gachibowli Inspector, R Srinivas said, "We did not detain any student, nor have we arrested them. We seized the laptop to check what material they had in it. It is not detention," he said.
The students were let off after a few hours, said the police.