The University of Hyderabad witnessed tense moments on Monday as the students of various groups and teachers gheraoed the Vice Chancellor of the university, RP Sharma, asking him to listen to their woes in the campus. The teachers had assembled in the campus in the morning demanding that the university apologized for raiding the house of associate professor Gracious Temsen.
Students too joined in with their demands later in front of the university's administrative block. Students lead by the students Federation of India, Ambedkar Students Association and Tribal Students Forum lead the protests.
The protests began following anger among the teachers over one of them belonging to the North-Eastern states being subjected to a search by the university security and police based on a verbal complaint that there were 'illegal occupants' in her house.
The students meanwhile wanted the Vice Chancellor to withdraw the new hostel code of conduct. The new code of conduct disallows students from using any electronic devices other than mobiles and laptops and threatens to expel and sue students who are caught consuming alcohol, smoking or using drugs.
The students were also peeved at the prospect that police will be allowed to question students for acts within and outside campus and have demanded that the Vice Chancellor should not grant police any direct access to students even for cases pertaining to outside campus.
Things reached a boiling point after the Cyderabad police distributed flyers in the college saying, “You can get expelled, suspended or punished for a social media hate post.” Among the ways specified to use social media responsibly is “to not comment anything against the interests of the nation.(sic)”. The student groups have demanded that the VC must give in writing that the police flyer holds no significance and the varisty will deal with such issues based on its own mechanism.
In spite of the protests and students surrounding him, the VC refused to give a direct reply. Vincent Binny, student president of UoH told The News Minute, "This is ridiculous. The VC is refusing to respond to us. No form of communication whatsoever. If he cannot hold a post in administration, he must resign."
The Vice chancellor was appointed only a few months ago and some students claim that the HRD ministry did not do a good job at picking a person for the post. "The strings are pulled from somewhere else. Right wing groups are in charge of the university and the only way this can stop is if he resigns," alleges a student, who wished to remain anonymous.
The students also claim that the protest was not a sudden outburst but a gradual process after the university failed to pay heed to their needs.
Update: The Vice chancellor held a meeting with student representatives later and allegedly refused to give in to the demands of the students. "We will make a plan of action now and see what we can do with the consensus of all students," Vincent told TNM after the meeting