No Time to Rest: A Report from UoH

[This is again from an email from a friend, a teacher at the UoH, who has been part of the effort to end police raj on campus. From this account, it is clear that the terror continues unabated though the mainstream media seems to think that they can move on.]

… We had applied for bail for faculty and students arrested in the previous week and we had hoped bail will be granted, especially since we heard that if a faculty is in police custody for more than 48 hrs, it is a problem. However, after the case was posted late in the evening, the Public Prosecutor (PP) said she would like to file a counter and posted it to Monday as there were holidays on Friday and Saturday. On Monday, we reached the court early enough with all the necessary sureties and money for bail. The PP did not turn up and the judge was waiting for her. The judge also took an unscheduled break which is never taken around noon I believe. Eventually, the PP turned up and said she has no counter to file. Then, again, the case was posted by the magistrate to post lunch period. It came up and it took a long time before the magistrate announced she is granting bail. By then it was quite late and even though we scrambled to get the paper work done, it could not be done. We had stood the whole day in the court as there is no place to sit and so on.

On Tuesday, we were promised that the paper work will be done by noon but we were all sceptical and hoped it will be done by 3 pm as we have to take the release orders to the Cherlapally jail which is 2hrs away. However, the magistrate signed the orders at 6:10pm despite the fact that we finished all of our paper work by noon and the clerks scrutinised our IDs by 1pm. Then, all the faculty giving surety were paraded one by one where each was asked the names of the students we were giving surety to and how we know them. One of the faculty was asked which state she is from and what are the bail conditions – special attention for coming from Northeast I guess…then, the lawyers went on a motorbike with a student who can ride it like the wind. With influence from Center for Dalit Studies, the jail authorities were asked to release the students and faculty even though it was 8:30pm by the time jail procedures were completed. At least the SP was willing and all the students, faculty who had gone to the jail to receive them and the arrested came back in 3 buses around 11:15pm to the campus.

When we reached the campus from the court, we found there was a tense stand off between the security staff of the university and students as the students were not being allowed to bring mikes and speakers into the campus. Finally, the students unloaded the van of the equipment and passed it over the heads of the security staff and broke the cordon. Later, students went out in a rally outside the main gates with torches and gave slogans until the released faculty and students came back. A big shout went up when the buses were seen coming to the campus. The largest cheers were for Prof.Ratnam followed by Prof.Thathagat and as each student descended from the bus, they were carried on shoulders into the campus. Then they went off on a rally around the hostels and reached south campus. It was one of the largest crowds I have seen in this movement even though it was 12:30am by then. There were speeches by Prof.Ratnam and Prof.Thathagat and Prashanth, Venkatesh and Lingaswamy. It was 2am by then and the crowd split up. The other students have been talking as part of EkalavyaSpeaks every day. The talks may be seen at the JusticeForRohith YouTube channel.

We also needed to get the depositions of all students done to send off to the various commissions to record the violations of human rights in general and of minority students in particular. Most of the students arrested were anyway minorities and Dalits. This work was done whole of wednesday afternoon. CPDR and other human rights organisations managed to get into the university to do fact finding. They were also able to force a meeting with the VC. I guess we will know what happened from their report. Prof.Kancha Iliah and Kaki Madhava Rao also came and met with students and faculty and talked to them.

Yesterday, Teesta Setalvad came to talk at the university. But, she was not allowed. Then, Prof.Ratnam as the Head of Center for Ambedkar Studies wrote a formal request that he has invited her to talk at his centre. But, the administration still refused to give permission. In fact, they locked the gates so that neither we who were inside the campus could go out nor those who were outside could come in. It was a most ridiculous situation. A few of us faculty went and talked to the Registrar at length to no avail. Finally, they opened the gates after Teesta left. In the crowd outside was the brother of our SU VP, Venkatesh Chauhan. Venkatesh is an Adivasi and lost both his parents when he was very young I believe. His brother was in tears as he has not been able to see his brother. He said he had to borrow money to travel to Cherlapally jail but reached there after Mulaqat time was over on that day and could not meet his brother. He also said that since he does not have money and he is not being allowed into the campus, he has been sleeping in the railway station. In fact, many families of arrested students are being harassed in this manner. Students are therefore losing patience with this inhumane treatment and there are flashpoints every day with the security violating the fundamental and human rights of students.

There is also a resolution by the Deans of the schools and the VC that the Velivada will be removed and all the “illegal” structures in the Shopcom, i.e., the Rohith memorial stupa and the sculptures of his bust, will be removed. There are many other resolutions there that point towards a complete militarisation of the campus. Some of us faculty wrote a letter protesting this to the Deans. We have to see what each new day brings to this campus.

2 thoughts on “No Time to Rest: A Report from UoH”

  1. UoH is not in New Delhi… Though sad , this is the reality.It is precisely for this reason, I am for good media management ..not in the Çorporate PR’s management sense, but in the sense of maintaining a channel or dialogue with the media… some section of media, including mainstream media, still values freedom..Yes, mainstream media never , ever likes to look like an activist media…So the priorities of it may be different , still…….

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