We are deeply pained to see the heinous attack by the state police and paramilitary force on students who are protesting the activities of Appa Rao Podile, the controversial Vice Chancellor of Hyderabad University. As the alumni of one of India’s premier educational institutions, presently teaching in various universities in India, and abroad, we strongly feel that such high handed actions and state sponsored police violence on students – both young men and women – must be condemned. This is crucial in an age of extensive authoritarian silencing. In this open communication with the higher ups in UoH, we would like to reiterate the fact that your dealing with the students has been miscalculated and has provided no reassurance at all. Blinded by a casteist mindset and a resurgent confidence in the wake of a political regime change, the university has failed miserably to instill much needed assurance in the students whose protests have been intensified since the forced suicide of Rohith Vemula. To our utter dismay, we realise that the failed university administration has begun to work hand in glove with the police in order to silence students’ demands, which should have merited a careful hearing and meaningful resolution. However, the VC and his entourage in the university feel that such sustained efforts have no value in a democracy. The shameful activities of the Police-raj, and the subsequent choreographies of complacency at the university clearly display an abysmal misreading of subaltern issues and concerns about the every day survival of students from marginalised backgrounds.
UoH, where all of us spent considerable numbers of years as students and researchers has been one of the major centers of post-Mandal anti-caste politics in India. It has a pioneering role in exposing and articulating – intellectually and politically – the role of caste atrocities with its multiple physical, sexual, and psychological turmoil in the making every day Dalit life. This role has been relevant not only in Telugu speaking regions, but in the whole of India. Being a major central university where the largest number of Dalit scholars study, it is relevant that the casteist mindset of a section of the administration has always chosen ways of maligning the activities of Dalit and subaltern students on this campus. Having witnessed many such activities even earlier, we are not surprised by the fact that the present university administration which draws a huge support from the current political establishment which hypocritically claims Ambedkar can condemn scholars who teach Ambedkar at UoH, and permit them to be imprisoned.
We also condemn the physical attack and violence on the university property unleashed by a small group of students whose identities have not yet been fully examined. Violence in a democracy cannot be upheld, whether it is part of defensive tactics or ‘spontaneous’ behavior. Such attacks are highly uncalled for and have no place when there are more creative and powerful methods of expressing dissent and differences. Equally important is the fact that, such violence cannot be ‘corrected’ by unleashing aggression and the spectacle of public punishment. Therefore, we not only demand a full investigation into this massive campus violence in which a large number of women students and scholars were brutally assaulted and traumatised but also an immediate resignation of Professor Appa Rao who failed to carry out the official responsibilities as the VC and an ethical commitment as a teacher.
- P. K. Yasser Arafath, Assistant Professor, Department of History, DU
- P. Kesava Kumar, Professor, Department of Philosophy, DU
- N. Sukumar, Professor, Department of Political Science, DU
- Parvathi K. Iyer, Assistant Professor, Central University of Gujarat
- Ashley N. P, Assistant Professor, Department of English, St.Stephen’s College, DU
- Thameem T. Assistant Professor, Department of English, St. Stephen’s College, DU
- Muneer Babu. M, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Adigrat University, Ethiopia
- Ajit Kulangara Madam, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, National Institute of Technology, Karnataka
- M.N.Parasuraman, Government College of Women, University of Kerala, TVM
- Sujit Parayil, Assistant Professor, Centre for Media Studies, JNU
- Itishree Pattnaik, Assistant Professor, GIDR, Ahmedabad
- Dinesh Prasad, Official Language Officer, Deputy Head, Publication, NID. Ahmedabad
- Kali Chittibabu, Assistant Professor, Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies, School of Social Sciences, JNU
- Rijo M John, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology-Jodhpur, Rajasthan
- Abey Philip, Senior Lecture, Department of Economics and Finance, Curtin University, Malaysia
- Niveditha Kalarikkal, Assistant Professor, Center for Comparative Literature and Translation Studies, Central University of Gujarat.
- Dusi Srinivas, Lecturer in History, JVR College, Telangana