No water, no electricity, no food. Students at the University of Hyderabad suffered 48 hours of an ‘emergency-like’ situation with the students’ mess being non-operational, Internet service down and ATMs out of order.
A heavy police presence on campus and various arrests have forced students to be extra cautious for fear of being “illegally detained”. Students were forced to visit a shopping complex in campus to buy groceries and food items.
“Electricity and mess services were restored this morning, there’s heavy presence of police on campus and they’re filing false cases against students,” Tushar Gadaghe, a student at the University, told The Indian Express.
While facilities have been restored on Thursday morning, students are still apprehensive. “We do not know if this is going to be stable… when we tried asking them (mess workers) why they left us in a crisis yesterday, they did not answer and refused to meet our eyes,” Vaikhari Aryat, another student posted on Facebook.
Registrar M Sudhakar, however, claims the ‘strike’ by mess workers was to express support for Vice-Chancellor (VC) P Appa Rao.
“Messes, which had been shut down due to the strike by non-teaching staff opened today… they (non-teaching staff) have resumed their duties from today in the larger interest of the university,” HCU Registrar M Sudhakar told PTI.
However, when Uday Bhanu began cooking by the street for students who didn’t have access to food, he was allegedly hit by police officials and later arrested. Bhanu was later admitted to hospital where he is recovering from his injuries.
Around thirty students and faculty members, who were arrested in connection with incidents of vandalism at the VC’s residence as well as charges of stone pelting on police personnel, were sent to judicial remand and are lodged in Cherlapally Central Prison. Students in campus are concerned about the whereabouts of Dontha Prashanth, who students allege was beaten up in police van till it crossed the university gate, post which no details were provided.
The police, however, claims that the situation inside campus is under control. “The situation on the campus is peaceful today,” Gachibowli police inspector J Ramesh told PTI.
In a statement issued, the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice alleged that police, Rapid Action Force (RAF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and other security personnel unleashed a brutal physical and sexual assault on students and teachers, on campus.
“Women students were beaten and grabbed by male police officers. After the forcible eviction from the lodge compound, police chased us for another 2 km, and grabbed and arrested students. Students suffered grievous injuries and were taken to hospitals,” the statement said.
According to the JAC, the phones of several students were confiscated while they were video recording the brutality.
It said 36 students, including three professors were picked up, brutally beaten in a police van, and detained in unknown locations all night.
The JAC further alleged that Appa Rao had provided the list of students and professors to be picked up, further stating that Appa Rao conspired with ABVP students, a section of faculty and non-teaching staff to return to the university and resume duties as the vice-chancellor.
Accused of being the ‘main accused’ in the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula, the JAC claimed that Rao returned as vice-chancellor to influence the ongoing judicial inquiry into the suicide.
26-year-old Rohith Vemula, who hanged himself in Hyderabad Central University campus in January, was suspended from his hostel in August last year for allegedly attacking an ABVP leader.
The list below names the students who were arrested by the police.
[with inputs from Agencies]