Tag Archives: Stand with UoH

Responding to the Challenges of Blue and Red – Reminiscences of a JNU-HCU Alumna: Shipra Nigam

This is a guest post by SHIPRA NIGAM

That the past few months have been cataclysmic is an understatement. Personal tragedies and political catastrophes have exploded within our most cherished spaces, and brought a churning in them.  What was truly transformative was the experience of both the emergence of broad solidarities against right-wing fascism, and of the reminders of multiple registers and contexts within them. These underline the need for multiple conversations to understand both our common struggles, as well as the contradictions within, and to renew a resolve for introspection through them as we move towards real ‘azaadi’.

There is of course an ongoing debate on this, and here I felt that some binaries being invoked in it are not very convincing, while others brought home stark truths that pose challenges to a patriarchal, majoritarian caste hindu ordering of society, within which we are all located at different levels of hierarchy, complicity, and engagement.

I have been part of both public universities under fire right now, and the present brings home the urgency of the dual task of defending the public university as a space for pushing the boundaries of critical thought, and confronting the very hierarchies and complicities with power that shape it. This is necessary even as processes of democratisation and affirmative action take root in public institutions . So these are some reminiscences from an alumna of both these public universities who has been wrestling with articulations and complexities which lie beyond institutional labels or binaries. Continue reading Responding to the Challenges of Blue and Red – Reminiscences of a JNU-HCU Alumna: Shipra Nigam

Fifty Shades of Grey – Without the Thrills

[This is a response to Shourajenda Nath Mukherjee’s open letter on Kafila by Prof Makarand Paranjape]

Mr. Shourjendra Nath Mukherjee’s “Open Letter” of April 5, 2016 makes only one substantive point, concerning the agency of students, which needs attention. The rest of it, as the Dormouse said to Alice, is “much of a muchness” – confusion, rigmarole, and thumb-twiddling over precious little, which scarcely need be dignified by serious confutation. Continue reading Fifty Shades of Grey – Without the Thrills

University of Hyderabad Alumni Teachers Protest the Brutal Police Acts on Campus

 

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. Continue reading University of Hyderabad Alumni Teachers Protest the Brutal Police Acts on Campus

Solidarity Statement from Concerned EFLU Alumni Against State Crackdown in UoH

 

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.
In solidarity

Continue reading Solidarity Statement from Concerned EFLU Alumni Against State Crackdown in UoH

Police Attack on SIO March in Support of UoH in Calicut: Students Approach Child Rights Commission

The students arrested during the march conducted by Students Islamic Organisation in Calicut, Kerala on 26 March in protest of the police brutality in Hyderabad University filed a petition to the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights. The Calicut Town Police lathicharged the peaceful protesters near the Calicut Head Post Office. About 40 were injured and about 30 protesters were arrested. SIO leaders who visited the police station were also arrested. Several of the protesters who faced violence were school students. Worst, the arrested students have been charged with Section 153 for instigating communal riots!

Continue reading Police Attack on SIO March in Support of UoH in Calicut: Students Approach Child Rights Commission

Statement by Concerned Faculty from The English and Foreign Languages University on the Police Crackdown at HCU

We, the concerned faculty from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, strongly condemn the police brutality at the University of Hyderabad on 22nd March 2016, after the return of Prof. Appa Rao Podile, the Vice-Chancellor accused of abetting the suicide of the Dalit Research Scholar Rohith Vemula. As an academic community, we are extremely disturbed by the excessive interference of the state machinery, administrative conspiracies, the abuse of power and systemic oppression that prevail in many of the universities in India of late. A university should be a just and egalitarian space. But the suicides of Dalit students with the recent case of Rohith Vemula lay bare systemic structures of oppression and institutional legitimization of caste violence existing within Indian universities. Our university spaces need serious re-vamping to ensure equal opportunity, social justice and critical discourses. Continue reading Statement by Concerned Faculty from The English and Foreign Languages University on the Police Crackdown at HCU

A Fig-leaf Called ‘Vandalism’ by UoH Students: SC and ST Faculty Forum and Concerned Teachers of University of Hyderabad

 

For the past three days the news media has been circulating widely, stories about ‘vandalism’ by students of the University of Hyderabad that led to the police crackdown. Surprisingly little information is actually there on the actual context, timing, duration and nature of the vandalism. It appears that the claim that a group of students indulged in acts of vandalism is enough to justify a full scale war on the entire campus community of over 5000 students.  Yet this charge of vandalism is no more than a fig leaf . Continue reading A Fig-leaf Called ‘Vandalism’ by UoH Students: SC and ST Faculty Forum and Concerned Teachers of University of Hyderabad