The Joint Action Committee for Social Justice condemns in the strongest terms the brutal physical and sexual assaults unleashed by the police, Rapid Action Force (RAF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and security personnel, acting upon the orders of the Central and state government, upon students and teachers at the University of Hyderabad on 22nd March. While male personnel were hitting women students, men students, faculty they hurled abuses. During the lathi charge, the CRPF and RAF badly beat hundreds of protesting students in campus, abusing them as “anti-nationals” and yelled that they will file sedition charges on us. Students were beaten for even standing outside their departments, with the police telling them to “go sit inside and study”. Women students were beaten and grabbed by male police officers. After the forcible eviction from the lodge compound the police chased us for another 2 kilo meters, and grabbed and arrested students.Students suffered grievous injuries and were taken to hospitals. The phones of several students were confiscated while they video recorded the brutality. During the lathi charge the police singled out students and hit them even after the crowd had dispersed. Hostels were searched as police appeared to have a pre-determined list of students and faculty they were trying to pick up, which media have said was a list directly supplied by the Podile Apparao.
36 students including 3 professors were picked up yesterday around 5 pm, they were brutally beaten in a police van, and detained in unknown locations all night. We have some information now that they were detained in Miyapur and Narsing police stations; the police blatantly lied to people who went to Miyapur police station that they were not holding any people there.
Emergency like situation imposed on campus.
The moment Podile Apparao entered the campus, the first thing that happened was absolute internet shut down for students. Then they closed down the messes, water and sanitation. It was a precondition for a VC like Apparao to first take away the food, drinking water, sanitation and internet to resume his office. After an entire day of lathi charge, physical and sexual assault on us, we slept without food and water; today we are cooking together and preparing our own food. Apparao has suspended all classes until Monday.
Why did Apparao come to campus on 22nd ?
The university was functioning smoothly after Prof. Periaswamy took charge as the VC and Vipin Srivastava went on leave. On 23rd the academic council meeting was scheduled where the in-charge VC Prof. Periaswamy was going to undertake 3 urgent agendas in the light of what happened in the university.
- Setting up of anti-discrimination cell in the university.
- Inclusion of Sc/ST and women representatives in all official university committees mandatory.
- increase of non-net fellowships for research scholars from 8 thousand to 25 thousand/month.
Apparao took charge as the VC without any prior intimation to faculty and the in-charge VC and postponed the Academic council meeting on the pretext of Holi.
He did so without any prior intimation to the student or faculty community, knowing full well that his arrival on campus would lead to a law-and-order situation. It appears that the Vice-Chancellor has prepared for this eventuality by coordinating with non-teaching staff (NTS), and by instructing various faculty members to “coordinate” with students to come to his lodge in order to “greet” him. We find this to be a gross miscarriage of authority of the Vice-Chancellor over faculty and students.
A letter has emerged showing the eerie and detailed coordination between Appa Rao, and sections of faculty, non-teaching staff, and ABVP students.These letters are a list of tasks assigned to these various people to ensure that Apparao successfully enters the campus and is able to run the office from the VC lodge. The fact that he is resuming the office without proper procedures and by taking only certain section of faculty and students as his aides discloses the conspiratorial manner of his actions.
Why we are protesting against Podile Apparao:
- Appa Rao was compelled to go on a long leave post the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula followed by nation-wide protest demanding resignation and arrest of P. Appa Rao under prevention of SC/ST atrocities act. There is a FIR filed against P. Appa Rao and his anticipatory bail plea was not accepted by the court. After P. Appa Rao went on a long leave, the university community decided to resume the functioning of university while continuing to protest to seek justice for Rohith Vemula. There is also a Judicial Committee inquiring the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula.
In the last 2 months, from HRD minister, several other BJP ministers, police and the state machinery play and try to manipulate the facts, hide evidence, create confusion about Rohith’s caste etc.
P Apparao, who is the prime accused in the death of Rohith, presents a conflict of interest. Apparao is already guilty of supressing several documents and evidences including police commissioners C V Anand’saffidavit. How can the main perpetrator come back and resume his office while the enquiry is still going on?He has come back to influence the judicial process, threaten and target students, faculty and employees and tamper with the evidence.
Everyday with the actions of the powers involved expose the nexus between the state and the political party. They attacked us with their lathis to create fear and supress our struggle, as students we do feel threatened but they have just strengthened our resolve to continue fighting in spite of many more attacks to come.
We will continue fight for justice! We will continue fighting for Rohith !
Long live our struggle for social justice! Democracy and equality!