Students condemn police ‘brutality’ at Hyderabad varsity

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Hyderabad, March 23 (IANS) Student groups at University of Hyderabad on Wednesday condemned police ‘brutality’ and ‘sexual assault’ on students protesting against Vice Chancellor P. Appa Rao.

The Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, an umbrella grouping of 14 student bodies, said an emergency like situation has been imposed on the campus with the authorities shutting down mess, water and internet connection.

The JAC, in a statement on Wednesday, alleged that police, Rapid Action Force (RAF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and other security personnel unleashed brutal physical and sexual assault on students and teachers on Tuesday.

It alleged that the security personnel not only beat up men and women students but hurled abuses, branded them “anti-nationals” and threatened to file sedition charges.

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“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,” it said.

According to the JAC, the phones of several students were confiscated while they were videorecording 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 claimed that Appa Rao had provided the list of students and professors to be picked up.

It alleged 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.

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The JAC said it was opposing Appa Rao’s return from leave because he was the “main accused” in the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula. It also claimed that Rao returned as vice chancellor to influence the ongoing judicial inquiry into the suicide.

The JAC vowed to continue its fight for justice, saying the police brutality only increased strengthened their resolve.

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