Hyderabad, March 31 (IANS) Civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad and two Communist Party of India-Marxist MPs were Thursday not allowed to enter University of Hyderabad while continued curbs on the campus evoked strong protest from students.
The university security personnel stopped Teesta and MPs from Kerala, T. Rajesh and P.Sampath, at the main gate.
They were invited by the students’ groups to address a public meeting as part of the ongoing agitation against last week’s police crackdown and the demand to remove P. Appa Rao as vice chancellor.
Teesta and the two Lok Sabha members lodged strong protest over the denial of entry and condemned the curbs imposed by the university on entry of political leaders, activists and media into the campus.
The students, who were waiting from on the campus, also rushed to the main gate and raised slogans against the university authorities.
Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, an umbrella grouping of various students’ groups, has condemned the university’s action and called it an attempt to stifle the movement for justice to Rohith Vemula, a Dalit research scholar who committed suicide in January.
The unrest on the campus began on January 17 after Rohith, one of the five Dalit students suspended for allegedly attacking a leader of ABVP, committed suicide. This triggered a massive protest by students, who demanded action against vice chancellor and central minister Bandaru Dattaetrya who were named in the FIR.
Appa Rao, who went on leave on January 24, resumed charge last week, triggering huge protests. The students ransacked the vice chancellor’s lodge on March 22 and in the subsequent police crackdown 25 students and two faculty members were arrested and jailed.
They were all released on bail on March 29.
Meanwhile, JAC rejected Appa Rao’s offer for talks saying it doesn’t recognize him as the vice chancellor. “We will not be a part of any such deceitful efforts,” it said reacting to a seven member committee constituted by the university authorities for talks with agitating students.
It alleged that the university is being run like a military camp that is concerned only about the security of Appa Rao and other complicit parties. “The way that the event and actions of this administration in collusion with the BJP is working, it has also exposed the larger plans of these political forces to deride all the universities of any democratic rights,” the JAC said in a statement.
It also condemned the reported decision of the university authorities to demolish the memorial for Rohith built on the campus and termed it a pre-planned attempt to erase the memory of the research scholar.
Referring to the reported decision taken in the meeting of deans to seek help from Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and set up a police outpost, the JAC alleged the VC is trying to project as if there is uncontrollable situation on the campus.
In other developments, the university has postponed national seminar on “Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s vision of economic development of India” scheduled to be held on April 4-5. The seminar will now be held on August 29-30.