Updates from Hyderabad Central University

A Suneetha, The Citizen Bureau, Kalpana Kannabiran, Preethi Raghunath.

A. SUNEETHA, Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies, Hyderabad:

This is to inform you all that strong local support is building up in Hyderabad for the students and faculty of University of Hyderabad. Here are some of the details.

a) During the two day shut down of UOH by the administration, students and faculty of EFLU and others sent food to UOH. Lamakaan opened their canteen to the students. A few offered their homes to the students who may have wanted to leave the campus.

b) On the legal front, support has poured in from the faculty and students. The faculty have offered generous support to stand surety for their students. Also crowds of students and faculty are in the court to express solidarity.

A team of human rights lawyers, consisting of V. Raghunath, U.D.Bhim Rao, Md. Shakeel and Vasudha Nagaraj, a coalition of civil liberties, dalit, minority and feminist lawyers is handling the bail petitions of the students and the faculty. The team went around the city to different police stations in search of the detained teachers and students on 23rd March. Not able to trace them, they decided to move a house motion at the residence of the Chief Justice of the AP HC but were asked to do so next morning. On 24th morning, learning that the arrested people were remanded to judicial custody in the midnight, they decided to move the bail petitions. Unfortunately the magistrate reserved the orders for Monday and we are keeping our fingers crossed.

As of now, money does not seem to be the problem.

c) Meanwhile the TRS government, probably in a move to save itself from the embarrassment has distanced itself from the police brutality and has termed the VC as an implant of the coastal Kamma lobby. So there is a rift in the existing ruling establishment.

CPI and the other left parties as well as the Telangana JAC members are trying to meet the ministers to appeal for the withdrawal of the police from the campuses. Local AAP and TISS, Hyderabad have moved State Human Rights Commission which summoned the VC on 26th March.

Human rights groups – HRF, CLC and CLMC have put out strong statements condemning police brutality on campus and have demanded that the cases be withdrawn.

d) HCU alumni has put out a strong letter in support of the students. People not only from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai but abroad are writing/calling/contacting many of us to know what support they can provide and what statements they can put out.

e) The local media especially the television channels are not covering the UOH happening much. When they do, the coverage is anti-student and pro university administration.  Except the Hindu and the TOI, the newspapers are also not supportive.

f) Last but the most important, an independent Judicial Commission with retired judges is being planned to inquire into the happenings at UOH in the coming ten days.

THE CITIZEN BUREAU on March 25, 2016

The situation at the Hyderabad Central University remains tense, as although food and water supplies have been restored, the arrested students and staff are still languishing in jail — with their bail plea pushed to Monday.

In the following video, the students’ lawyer explains the details of the case against them. He says that there are three FIRs against the students — two by the police, and one by the UoH administration. The police have revived an FIR that was filed on the night of the death of Rohith Vemula.

In the first FIR there are 30 students and two faculty members who are accused. In the second FIR there are 45 accused. In total there are 27 people who were detained. The rule, explains the defence lawyer, if you are detained by the police, then within 24 hours of detention — the police has to produce you before a magistrate. This did not happen, says the lawyer. When 27 people were produced, late at night, the magistrate sent them to jail custody for 14 days…

Owing to a mainstream media blackout, the events of March 22 and 23, when several students were brutally thrashed by the state police, remain underreported. Over 44 students were treated for injuries caused by police lathis — including fractures and head injuries — at the University health centre. Several other students were admitted in hospitals across Hyderabad. PhD scholar Uday Bhanu who was reportedly attacked by the the police for cooking food for students on campus was admitted unconscious into ICU.

Read the rest of the report here.

Urgent Notes from a University in Crisis by KALPANA KANNABIRAN in The Wire on March 24, 2016.

The first we saw of this was television news reports of brutal handling of students and the few teachers with them by lathi wielding police. After this there was just a repetition of this footage, and news that close to 30 students and three faculty members had been taken into custody. Drs Tathagatha Sengupta and K.Y. Ratnam were among those arrested. There were several eyewitness accounts of police beating up Dr. Ratnam even while he was trying to intervene and salvage a bad situation…

When the arrests were made I had assumed (rather naively, I must say) that all of them would be released after a few hours in custody. When they had been in for a night with no release in sight, I made contact with Karthik Bittu, a teacher there who was keeping close track of the arrested students and faculty. I sent a lawyer to Miyapur Police Station on March 23 to find out what was happening. From his and other accounts, the version I got was that there was no information on what the police’s next move was going to be and each one who asked got a different story of what was to happen. It was close to 5 pm, there were many lawyers and students waiting at the police station. When nothing seemed to move, I called Bittu again around 5 pm, and heard that they were planning to meet the chief justice. In the meanwhile, around 7 pm, my lawyer friend messaged me that the reason why the detainees were not being produced was that the remand case diaries were not ready. It was over 24 hours since the arrests had been made. So I messaged Bittu immediately conveying this information and suggesting that the team meeting the CJ bring this to his notice and demand immediate release. I do not know if they met him.

Read the rest of this piece here.

Delhi Media, Why The Silence On UoH? PREETI RAGHUNATH in Countercurrents on March 25, 2016

I am only voicing the concerns of many students at the University of Hyderabad (UoH/HCU). This is a delayed reaction since I did feel that perhaps we would eventually get media coverage that is worthy of the kind of situation that HCU is in. I did feel that this was a momentary lapse on the part of the otherwise Breaking-News-hungry news channels. I understand that orders prohibiting media entry into the university premises (or ‘campus’ as we so fondly call it) have been put up. However, we fail to understand what stops the media from covering/engaging with civil liberties groups and following up on developments on the legal recourse front, even as faculty, lawyers and others concerned are battling it out on our behalf?In fact, students and friends in the city of Hyderabad and other parts of the country are having to field questions about the authenticity of attacks on so many students! They do not believe it is for real! If people have to only go by the 11 words that Facebook puts up as trending news and the slant that it gives, I feel sorry for them.

This is when we look to the media in Delhi to dispel myths, rumours and provide balanced coverage for the country to read/watch, taking into account all sides of the story. We do not even expect them to approach the story in a proactive manner on behalf of unarmed students having to deal with CRPF and Rapid Action Forces on campus.

Read the rest of this piece here.

One thought on “Updates from Hyderabad Central University”

  1. KALYAN SENGUPTA (ADVOCATE) HIGH COURT CALCUTTA; (I am the father of Dr. Tathagata sengupta, the victim Faulty of University of Hyderabad, ) says:

    Return of Prof Appa Rao Podile, Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad caused an aggravated situation within University campus- who will be responsible?

    I am the father of Dr. Tathagata Sengupta, the one of the faculty members of of University of Hyderabad, I am practicing in Calcutta High Court since 35 years; I would like to say to the people at large, all those who are directly and indirectly affected by this shameless/ridiculous state of affairs – you should know what we the parents are facing these days, the only reason is to protect one bloated criminal like Prof Appa Rao Podile, Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad, who is absolutely responsible for the death of one innocent scholar. Where the Police authorities are protecting the said criminal by suppressing FIR against him, and arrested other persons who are scholars (may be some of them are activists, but activists are not terrorists). And I have fully experienced the Police atrocities in these days, through practices which I believe all the Police officials have inherited from the British regime.
    I have every doubt, whether we are the Citizens of Free India!
    Prof Appa Rao Podile, Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad Rao’s return to the campus appears to be pre-meditated, but it would have been extremely difficult for Rao to fight the case registered against him under the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act following Rohith’s suicide if he was still not in the top job. He has strong political connections, especially with Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, otherwise it would become an uphill task for him to endure the process of fighting the case.

    Question remains, why Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad till now has not been suspended? Worse still, the Telengana police Authorities arrested 25 students and two faculty members of the University of Hyderabad and slapped false cases against them and booked under sections 147 (rioting), 452 (house trespass), 427 (mischief causing damage), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 342(wrongful confinement), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 149 (unlawful assembly and guilty of offence) apart from section 3 of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act etc. that is to vandalism, trespass into VC’s lodge, damage of the furniture, computers, laptop etc and obstruction of the official duties of the VC and others.

    1stly- I have gone through 1 hr long video footage, surprisingly, all the accused persons and students were at Least ½ km far from the VC’s house, how they (Arrested victims) became responsible for vandalism?

    2ndly- How is it that all the police authorities including Bhupati one Police Officer, O.C Gachibowli police Station and other Police officers gave the entire protection to such a person, who is the prime accused person in a case, the vice-chancellor?
    3rdly- How can a prime accused person in a case, which is under judicial probe, return to resume the post of vice-chancellor?
    4thly- Is it not a case that The VC’s return has caused an unexpected split between the faculty and deans of different departments on the campus?
    5thly- After going through the considerable video footage of more than one hour, I have every reason to believe that it is ABVP students (Under BJP) which were responsible for the vandalism in the VC’s lodge, not the arrested persons. And it was a premeditated destruction with an intent to shift the blame on those who were protesting The VC’s return. The same drama had happened in our Jadavpur campus for the self same course of action.
    6thly- Why the Writ should not be filed against the arresting authorities against the violation of Art 22 Constitution of India, because they have violated all the norms during arrest and unknown remand. It is a very clear case, all the arrested persons are not street drifters, nor terrorists. All of them are jewels in their respective academic fields, having very good moral characters and backgrounds.
    The State Government and the Rowdy Police officers should keep in mind, all the arrested persons including faculties had not entered the University through election process but by testifying their academic abilities.
    This is a clear case, all the police officers made unlawful arrest of 25 students and two faculty members of the University of Hyderabad, it was pre-planned, pre-determined with the intention of showing loyalty to the ruling party where PRB got no value even. Round the clock I had to move pillar to post from D.I.G; commissioner of Police to Gachibowli police Station, Madhpur Police Station, Deputy Commissioner of Police, D.I.G; Kukatpalli Police Station; Narasimha Police Station, Cybarbad Police Station and so on so on. All of them in a pre-planned manner tried to mislead me and others, so that we could not trace where the arrested persons had been kept in remand. I vehemently oppose the over action of Police, Violations of Art 22 and I should say “The university is not at Taliban HQ, but it is in Telengana. It was the duty of the police to inform parents about those who’ve been arrested.”
    My question- are they all terrorists? Are they antisocial? Had anybody seen them to chuck stones at the residence of V.C? The fact remains; there is no evidence all those arrested persons pelted stones to V.C’s house, but there are clear records that the arrested students were beaten up by the police while some female students were sexually harassed as they were being dragged out towards the Prisoner’s van.
    Hence- Allegations of sexual violence and threats by the police to women students must be investigated and those responsible must be prosecuted.
    7thly- This is being highlighted by the unruly Police authorities, that one/two TSSP constables got hurt. But the video footage will prove, any minor injury hardly was found. My question to the Commissioner of Police- Telengana, Does it mean all 25 students and 2 faculties in a same pattern, at the same time attacked to a single person and caused hurt, and for that indiscriminately the charges slapped like 324 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty).
    On the contrary, I definitely will say, I have every evidence against the Police mob, RAF, that how brutally they inflicted Lathi charges to the students, faculties indiscriminately, abruptly, mercilessly, which any law does not permit. All of them the Police authorities have/had exercised their extra judiciary power beyond authority.
    Female faculties were grabbed by their hair and dragged into vans. Male students were swept inside the van and were beaten mercilessly.
    One Akshita Chitla, a student of UoH, when she was dragged Policemen told her “not to behave like prostitutes” and threatened to rape.
    8thly- The authority concerned is definitely under obligation to give satisfactory answer to concerned people at large, when a case is already registered against Appa Rao under SC and ST Atrocities Act and how can he resume his duty?
    And how the Police without arresting him, had given full protection and support to play a nasty political game within the university campus?
    Finally- Why the V.C should not be prosecuted for denying students electricity, water and food merely because they are protesting what is unacceptable.
    More so, why Prof Appa Rao Podile, Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad, should not be prosecuted for the situation that has arisen, he is the only person who is responsible for all damages.

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