Abdul Jaffar, a PhD aspirant at the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) in Hyderabad, was trying to download his admit card for the entrance exam scheduled for February 24 when he realised something was wrong.
Having completed his Masters at EFLU previously (2014-16), he was surprised when all his friends were able to access their admit cards when he could not.
Turns out, the University is apparently refusing admit cards to students who have been ‘politically active’. Abdul is reportedly one of the five students whose hall tickets are being withheld for the above reason.
Abdul, a native of Kerala’s Malappuram, told TNM, “I contacted the Controller of Examination (CoE) office after I wasn’t able to download my hall ticket. They said that my hall ticket was on hold as per the direction of proctor Prakash Kona.”
When Abdul asked Prakash Kona about the same, he was directed back to the CoE department, where he got no clear answers.
The matter reportedly went up to the Vice Chancellor, who said that the matter was at the proctor’s discretion.
Abdul was indeed part of a protest at the University back in 2015 demanding the Students Union to be re-established. He was issued a show-cause notice at the time, but no further action was taken against him.
“Now they are saying that I cannot write the exam because of the show-cause notice. As per university regulations, only if disciplinary action has been taken against you are you denied a hall ticket,” Abdul argues. TNM could not independently verify the university regulations.
Terming it a “disproportionate use of power” Abdul added, “Denying hall ticket as per the show-cause notice is illegal as per university regulations. It is a personal attack on students”.
Maitri Das, the head of the Students Union, was also in the know about the situation.
She told TNM that she spoke to the administration about two of the five students who have been denied admit cards. She knows the identity of three of them, who she says were politically active.
"I went and spoke to the administration on behalf of two students. I only knew about two then. They said that their hall tickets were withheld because of their political activism,” she said. While Abdul was involved in a protest, another one had allegedly written a comment on Facebook deemed abusive towards the Vice-Chancellor. “These students have been blacklisted, basically," Maitri explains.
A senior EFLU official meanwhile, said that the admit cards have been withheld because of “irregularities”.
“It is clearly mentioned in our admission form that the university has a right to cancel the admission of any student if any discrepancies are found. The students’ admission has been withheld because of irregularities found while they were students of the university ie their participation in demonstrations in the university and if they have had any cases against them for the same,” the official told Deccan Chronicle.
However, this is not the first time that students have been denied admit cards in universities in Hyderabad over involvement in political events.
In 2017, two students from the University of Hyderabad were denied admit cards because they participated in protests supporting Rohith Vemula. They were later allowed to write the entrance examination after widespread protests.
“Over the years, there has been a series of incidents where admissions were denied to students who had a political background, even if they were not on campus. There has been a crackdown on student activism on campus,” Maitri notes.