The following is a statement signed by 143 teachers of Hyderabad, released by the University Teachers’ Forum Hyderabad, condemning the police raid at the residence of Prof K. Satyanarayana recently.
We university teachers of Hyderabad hereby strongly register our protest against the arbitrary, ill-mannered raid on the residence of Dr. K. Satyanarayana, Professor of Cultural Studies and Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the EFL University on 28 August 2018.
Early in the morning of 28 August, a police team from Maharashtra accompanied by some Telangana policemen and women, forced themselves into the apartment residence of Prof. Satyanarayana and his wife Pavana without showing them any authorizing document and proceeded to ransack and vandalise the entire flat for over eight hours.
The document that they eventually produced authorized the search ostensibly to find Mr. Varavara Rao, who had already been house-arrested at his own flat by another team. There was no mention of any charges against Prof. Satyanarayana himself. In violation of all rules and conventions, this document was in Marathi, was never presented at the time of entering the residence, and no explanation was offered as to the purpose of their raid. The team left having turned the entire flat upside down taking with them three laptops, a tablet and hard drive apart from some books and papers. Prof. Satyanarayana’s accumulation of research done over 30 years is now in danger of being completely destroyed.
An internationally renowned scholar of Cultural Studies and a pioneering author and editor in the field of Dalit Studies, Satyanarayana co-edited the two-volume anthology of New Dalit Writings from South India: No Alphabet in Sight (vol 1) and Steel Nibs are Sprouting (vol 2), Exercises of Freedom, as well as the volume of Dalit Studies, the first effort of its kind.
He has been a Dalit scholar and has devoted his entire time as an academic to the pursuit of knowledge and research into issues affecting dalits.
Continue reading University Teachers Forum Hyderabad Condemns the Raid at Prof Satyanarayana’s House
We, the alumni of English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, condemn in the strongest possible words the brutality unleashed by the police with the cooperation of the university administration on 22 March 2016, after the Vice Chancellor, Prof Appa Rao Podile, ‘took charge’. We are disturbed seeing the chain of events that the VC triggered to ensure ‘his smooth return’, in spite of being accused of abetting the suicide of research scholar, Rohith Vemula. In the wake of an ongoing case, the VC chose to orchestrate his return with the aid of the police so that any voice of dissent opposing his return is crushed mercilessly. As former students of this university, we are extremely angry seeing this State sponsored violence inside a university and disturbed seeing students become victims to it. An ideal university must exist as a space for dialogue, dissent and strive to be devoid of power structures inherent in relationships that students have amongst themselves, with the university workers and the teachers. However, like the world outside of the university space, all of our classrooms have not in effect been a ‘clean space’. Rather, it has been a microcosm of the realities that exist outside of our pristine gates. Thus, when ASA activist and research scholar, Rohith Vemula took his life, what was thrown open to this nation was the bare truth of caste that the intellectual and political class has been avoiding for long. Instead of interrogating this systemic problem that has been a part and parcel of this nation since its formation, the UoH administration under VC Prof Appa Rao sought to suppress a student movement, unleasing a first of its kind seeking justice for Vemula and all other Dalit, Adivasi and Bahujan students that were ruthlessly harassed and humiliated by universities. Triggering nation-wide protests, the movement had also become a topic of discussion in the center where news such as the death of a Dalit student had often been blacked out.
It is in the wake of this two months long peaceful student protest that the VC used the might of the police and the RAF to ‘protect himself’ from the democratically protesting students. Alleging that the protesters vandalised the VC’s residence (with zero evidence), the police came down heavily on the student protesters and went onto assault faculty members who were trying to protect these students. Arresting 30 students and 2 faculty members and taking them to ‘unknown’ locations, the police managed to create an atmosphere of terror for the students of UoH, wherein possibilities of fake encounters creeped on everyone’s mind. If this wasn’t enough, the VC also managed to convince workers to go on strike and leave the student community without food for 48 hours. Power and internet were subsequently cut off and women students who tried to hold their ground were threatened with rape by the RAF. When there was no food, a few students who took the initiative of cooking food at the university premises were beaten and detained, all the while when the UoH VC had taken ‘steps’ to store milk and water at his residence. Now, with reports of the police particularly picking and beating up the Muslim students badly, among those who were arrested, we are forced to believe that what happened at UoH is the ugliest face of this regime with respect to student community in India. Even more so with the Telengana government standing as mute spectator to the protest, fully knowing how students across universities in Hyderabad had supported the Telengana movement. The police has also released a fresh list of students to be arrested.
This is a planned and systematic attempt to break down the students movement demanding action against the VC and the implementation of Rohith Act. In the wake of such brutalities, we are amazed seeing the spirit of the students of UoH in standing up to the bullies and goons who have taken law into their hands. We stand in solidarity with them, their struggle and condemn the violation of their rights and dignity by the VC and the state government. We condemn the branding of students as ‘antinationals’ and vandalisers, the physical and emotional abuse of the arrested students and faculty, the assault on women students, faculty and media persons and the ruthless targeting of Muslim students by the police and the RAF. We condemn in strong words the rape threats and the police rule that was implemented on campus violating basic human rights. We demand the immediate withdrawal of cases against the students and faculty and the withdrawal of the police from the campus. We demand that the VC be removed from inflicting further harm to the students and that Rohith Act be implemented with immediate effect.
We have also seen photos and videos of the police brutally attacking student protesters in Chennai, Calicut and Mumbai who raised their voices against the atrocity meted by the UoH students. We condemn the act of the state government in the respective places and their draconian attempts of charging the protesters with IPC 153 etc to silence any voice of dissent.
Continue reading Solidarity Statement from Concerned EFLU Alumni Against State Crackdown in UoH
Guest Post by EFLU Alumni and Other Concerned Individuals
[ This is a statement prepared by some alumni of EFLU, in the aftermath of the rape of a woman student on campus last week. The statement was then shared on the social media for endorsement. Those who had drafter the statement say that they “…were overwhelmed by the support shown by a cross section of people including alumni, not just practicing academics and students of other universities, but also techies and bankers, journalists and professionals.” The statement is intended to be seen as an expression of solidarity with the complainant, in appreciation of her bravery and as a means of extending support to the EFLU community who are trying to fight for gender justice in innovative and inclusive ways. ]
This is a public statement condemning the rape of a girl student in the hostels of The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. We express our solidarity with the complainant and demand that the guilty be punished. Happening within the university space, this action by the student’s peers shocks and saddens us, but also points at the deep entrenchment of patriarchy even within the most radical of spaces.
Continue reading Statement Condemning Rape on EFLU Campus: EFLU Alumni and Other Concerned Individuals
Guest Post by Sudha K F and Muhammed Afzal P
The semester break seems to be the most active time for the English and Foreign Languages University (Hyderabad) administration. What are these activities that the administration invests so much of its energies in, when most students have left the campus for their vacation? It is sending memos, show cause notices and the latest: the RUSTICATION of two significant student leaders on the EFLU campus.
When the word ‘fascist’ has become an everyday term, to talk about the Modi nightmare and its anxieties, we have more to add to that list from EFLU, Hyderabad. Mohan Dharavath, President of Dalit Adivasi Bahujan Minority Students’ Association and Satish N, General Secretary of Telengana Students’ Association, have been rusticated from the University for two years, the latest in a series of draconian and undemocratic moves, on the part of the autocratic EFLU administration. The two students, along with another student, Subhash Kumar, were given show cause notices by the Proctor’s office on 24 March, to which they responded, denying the baseless charges levelled against them. The rustication is part of the disciplinary action against these students who were part of a massive protest that took place against the administration, called forth by the EFLU Students’ Union. This protest was against the absolute closure of the only 24-hour reading room, and library, on the small EFLU campus in the first week of March 2014.
Continue reading EFLU Hyderabad Rusticates Students for Wanting to Keep Library Open: Sudha and Muhammad Afzal
Guest Post by a student who wishes to remain anonymous
The recent incidents in the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad, shows yet another move from the part of the administration to bypass democratic procedures and suppress the voice of the student community. Ever since she took charge, the current VC Sunaina Singh has managed to acquire infamy for her anti-student and totalitarian mode of governance. The most recent one was closing down the common reading room for students, which was functional 24*7. The initial reason given was that it was under renovation. Later, notifications were put out stating that the previous reading room will be attached to the library (which closes down at 8pm on weekdays and at 6pm on weekend). Separate reading rooms were allotted for male and female students in their respective hostels, each of which cannot accommodate more than 20 students at a time (the total strength of the university is 2500+).
This decision, in effect, meant that boys and girls had no place to study/ work together after the stipulated working hours of the library. The authorities even posed the question as to why it was necessary that boys and girls have to study together. Excuse my hyperbole, but probably the next step would be to prohibit the formation of mixed groups for class works, assignments and presentations.
This particular incident of closing down the common reading room has to be viewed by placing it in the context of the larger issue- the regulations imposed on the students over the past one year and attempts to curb the liberal values that EFLU has always held up. Continue reading The ‘Occupy Library’ Protest in EFLU, Hyderabad: Anonymous
This is a guest post by KT HAFIS
What follows is a ‘status update’ from EFL University, Hyderabad, with special reference to the recent regulation of free speech on social networking sites in the university. It follows the polemical structure of a facebook status update as it tries to bring in a new dimension to the nature and scope of the idea of public and public sphere. At the very outset, let me make this point very clear. We are not fighting for some anarchic and absolutist idea of free speech. We know very well that freedom of expression also means a lot of responsible thinking.
First, some detail about the facts of the matter before we reflect on the philosophical and theoretical problems that they posit in the face of the ‘here and now’ of student politics in Indian universities in general and EFLU in particular.Two students, Kt Hafis (the author) and Thahir Jamal were handed show-cause notices, issued by the Proctor’s office signed by Deputy Proctor Sujata Mukhri, for having expressed our opinion on Facebook regarding the anti-reservation remarks made by Mr. Tariq Sheik, a member of the administration and Deputy Dean of Student welfare, at a students’ general body meeting organized by the Dean of Students welfare to select the electoral committee for the upcoming students’ union election at EFL university. In that meeting, students sensitive towards the problems of representation raised genuine concerns about the absence of reservation in the central panel (President, Vice-President, General Secretary, Joint Secretary, Cultural Secretary, Sports Secretary) and against the denial of the posts of SC/ST, OBC, women, disabled and foreign representatives in the new constitution of the Students’ Union. These had been approved by the Vice Chancellor of EFLU and in response to a students’ struggle conducted the last year. Continue reading Chanting Sacred Election-Ritual Mantras by Regulating Free Speech: ‘A Status Update’ from EFLU, Hyderabad:Kt Hafis
Anonymous Guest Post
[This is a response to the recent political developments in the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. On 1nd March, 2013, Mudasir Kamran, a Kashmiri Muslim PhD scholar of the university was taken to the police station by the Proctor and some other professors of the university in pretext of a personal enmity between Mudasir and his erstwhile room-mate, where he was detained throughout the night without any written complaint being filed. Mudasir came back broken, asking why he was treated like a thief and a criminal. On 2nd March, he committed suicide. A section of the students since then has been demanding for the suspension of the Proctor, an apology from the university, and compensation to the family. The university administration dealt with this in a fiercely draconian manner. They refused to meet the students, they enforced police protection, they threatened a null semester, even a total shut-down of the university. They did not issue a single apology, they appeared in front of media and produced false versions of the events hand in glove with the police (that was subsequently refuted by the alleged eye-witnesses), they constituted a faculty-only Fact-Finding Committee without removing the accused from his administrative position. Rumours have been floated about the alleged homosexuality and the mental instability, thus inciting the cultural stereotype of social aberration and criminality. One unofficially Leftist section alleged that the students are spreading rumours and contacting their “Kashmiri friends” to ignite the fire of unrest in Kashmir (although there has been and still is no connection between student’s demand and what is happening in Kashmir). On 8th March, they finally succeeded in coercing the students enough to make them ask for a resumption of normalcy on the campus. The Vice-Chancellor has threatened that any political activity on the campus will result in a null semester. She has ensured that classes will commence under heavy ‘police protection’ on Monday. A section of the teachers who has refused to accept the responsibility for Mudasir’s unfortunate death has demanded for criminal cases to be filed against the protesting students. Since the protesting side has been majorly comprised of dalits, OBCs, minorities, this is an attempt from their side to allegorically (and satirically, in the tradition of Jonathan Swift who once wrote his ‘modest proposal’ that the British landed aristocracy simply eat Irish children as a way to end the problem of poverty in Ireland) express some of the horrors they have to go through to even stage a basic minimum democratic protest in a so-called elite university.]
[This text has been slightly edited and modified, mainly to allow for easier reading, and to correct a few syntactical slips, but the general tone and style, including capitalization and some archaisms have been maintained so that it is clear that this is a legitimate work of satire, written in the public interest. Kafila]
A MODEST PROPOSAL FOR PREVENTING THE DALITS, MINORITIES, AND IN GENERAL THE POOR AND THE MARGINALIZED FROM BEING A BURDEN ON THE GLORY OF THE ENGLISH AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES UNIVERSITY, HYDERABAD AND FOR MAKING THEM BENEFICIAL TO THE UNIVERSITY.
Continue reading A Modest Proposal from EFLU Students, Hyderabad: Anonymous