Hundreds of students held a protest in front of the Arts College building at Hyderabad's Osmania University on Wednesday, to protest against the varsity's decision to shut down hostels and messes till January 15. The university administration had taken the decision after wide-spread protests had broken out earlier in the month, due to the suicide of a student.
The students alleged that the decision was taken, to demoralise the students, and also ensure that none of them would be present on campus, when it hosts the 105th Indian Science Congress (ISC) from January 3 to January 7.
The event will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
â€śThey canâ€™t keep students away from one of the major events happening in the varsity. Indian Science Congress is like a big festival for us and we want to be part of it,â€ť Manavatharai K, a protester, told the Times of India.
â€śMost students in the hostels are from villages, from economically backward families. They are preparing for various exams and sending them back will pause preparation,â€ť Naresh G, one of the protesters, told ToI.
The students also burnt an effigy of the chief minister, and demanded immediate resumption of the messes and hostels.
However, the university has defended the decision, with chief warden Hari Singh telling media persons that, "Classes for PG students concluded nearly a week ago. Even semester exams of some PG courses were postponed to January 22. Students were asked to vacate hostels so we can accommodate guests for ISC."
Earlier this month, 21-year-old E Murali, a first-year student of MSc Physics at Osmania University ended his life in the hostel bathroom. The incident had triggered protest by students.
According to police, a suicide note was found in the pocket of Murali in which he stated that he was taking the extreme step due to depression and the fear of failing in exams. However, student groups alleged that the letter was forged and claimed that he was depressed due to government not releasing the job notification.
Tension had prevailed on the campus as students refused to hand over the body to police, demanding the government to first announces a job and Rs 5 lakh compensation for Murali's family. Police broke open the doors of a hostel room in the early hours of Monday to forcibly shift the body for autopsy and later to his native place.
However, the campus remained tense through the week as students staged protest and boycotted the classes.