Dalit-Bahujan students attacked in Satavahana University for burning Manusmriti

The Dalit-Bahujan students claimed the outsiders attacked them for burning the Manusmriti, the BJP however denied the claim.
Dalit-Bahujan students attacked in Satavahana University for burning Manusmriti
Dalit-Bahujan students attacked in Satavahana University for burning Manusmriti

Violence erupted in Satavahana University in Karimnagar, Telangana on Monday, as at least eight outsiders allegedly belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), barged into the campus objecting to Manusmriti Dahan Diwas held by the Dalit-Bahujan students. The students were attacked with sticks and stones. Police have detained around 22 persons from both the groups. Police also allegedly seized their phones.

The attacked students belonged to the Progressive Democratic Students’ Union, Dalit Students Union, Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika and Bahujan Students Union. They were observing the day by burning the Manusmriti – The Law of Manu – calling it casteist.

Speaking to TNM, Jupakka Srinivas, student leader from Progressive Democratic Students’ Union said, “As usual we planned to burn the casteist book. The incident took place at around 10.30am. We don’t know who these people were. They barged into the campus when we were about to burn the papers of Manusmriti. They had come well prepared with sticks and stones and started attacking us,” he said, adding, “There was no dialogue.”

He further said, “This is the first time such an incident has occurred in the campus. Never in the history of university has anybody, including the Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP), raised any objection to burning Manusmriti.”

However, State BJP Spokesperson Bandi Sanjay denied claims that the incident had anything to do with Manusmriti Dahan Diwas, and said that the BJP had to intervene because the students were raising slogans against Bharat Mata, the Hindu religion and the RSS.

He also stated that the incident did not take place in the university, but outside, near the Jyothirao Phule circle.

“When they raised slogans against Bharat Mata, by tearing the photo of Bharat Mata, two locals, including a Dalit, objected to it. However, they were beaten by these students. Later the BJP workers and locals had to intervene,” he said.

He claimed that it was the students who attacked the BJP workers first.

“After the police intervened and sent the students into the campus, they pelted stones at us. A few were injured in this and they too were Dalits,” Sanjay said.

Accusing the police of being biased, he said that the police took videos only of the BJP workers resorting to violence. “They (the police) don’t know what led to the incident. If they examine the CCTV footage near the circle, they’ll learn the truth,” he said.

Karimnagar Additional DCP law and order, Sanjeev Kumar claimed that the attackers were also students, who were observing Vajpayee’s birthday in the campus.

“When they spotted the Dalit-Bahujan students trying to burn Manusmriti, they took objection to it. A war of words ensued between the two groups, which escalated to stone pelting,” the DCP said.

Assuring that normalcy has been restored in the campus, he said, “We are examining videos to find who triggered the aggression and will take legal action against them.”

Sujatha Surepally, a Dalit activist and professor from the same university, rejected the claims made by the police and said, “The charges of the police are false. The goons were not students, they were outsiders, who had association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).”

Condemning the incident, she asked, “How could outsiders enter the university? The event wasn’t held at the BJP or RSS office. Instead of arresting the goons, why did police take the innocent Dalit-Bahujan students into custody?”

Sanjay also blamed Sujatha of misleading people. “Sujatha has been painting the incident as an attack on Dalits. The victims from BJP who suffered injuries were also Dalits,” Sanjay said.


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