#Stand with HCU
March 25, 2016
#Stand with HCU
Solidarity Statements and Video Testimonies
UoH Alumni Open Letter against the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula, the return of Dr. Appa Rao as UoH’s VC, and the brutal display of state violence in campus.
As alumni of the University of Hyderabad, we observed with dismay the return of Dr. Appa Rao Podile as the Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad (UoH) on March 22. We strongly condemn this provocation that led to the police brutality on campus. The shutdown of the university which has followed is unacceptable and unlawful.

A couple of days ago, a report ranked three departments of the University of Hyderabad among the top 500 university facilities in the world. The education we received at UoH helped us to not only shape our careers, but also to question, critique and analyse concepts such as equality, fraternity and social justice. Upon entering a central university of this size, we were exposed to the sheer diversity of this country. UoH, like other central universities in India, is an amalgam of many languages, cultures, religions and regions.

However, much like the rest of the country, the university campus is a space where systematically oppressive caste structures operate and are institutionally legitimised. Recent events at UoH have left us dismayed and angered at the treatment meted out to peacefully protesting students at the hands of the administration and the police.

Suicides of Dalit students have been recurring in UoH. While such incidents continue unabated across the country, the issue spiralled into a nationwide students’ protest with the untimely death of Dalit scholar and social activist Rohith Vemula on January 17, 2016. Rohith’s suicide note gives us glimpses into the individual that he was — an astute observer of the human condition. His progressive ideas gave hope, especially to marginalised groups, for whom he fought tirelessly. The son of a Dalit mother who makes her living out of a sewing machine, he proudly bore his mother’s identity and fought for the rights of all people regardless of caste, class, gender and sexuality. He was especially vocal about the plight of Dalit students, a 200-million-strong population that has historically been denied fair opportunities to achieve social mobility in Indian society. It is unforgivable that the university administration could not save him.

A grave problem lies, therefore, in the fact that as of March 22, Dr. Appa Rao Podile, who mismanaged the suspension of Rohith and others, leading to his suicide, has resumed the office of the VC after two months of leave. This is highly inappropriate especially given that a non-bailable charge is registered against him under the SC/ST Atrocities Act and a judicial inquiry to determine accountability is still pending.

“We the alumni of University of Hyderabad write to draw attention to the atrocities that the students are experiencing for raising their voices against injustice”

The morning of Rao’s return saw an unprecedented display of violence in the campus. The media reported that the students pelted stones and ransacked the VC’s lodge. But, information from several sources, especially eyewitness accounts from students, faculty and non-teaching staff, contests mainstream media reports. There is ample footage of the police brutally assaulting students with lathis. Some police personnel allegedly threatened to rape students. Even faculty members were not spared.

After the incident, the university has been locked down with no food (14 messes have shut operations), water, electricity (in some parts), and no internet connectivity. This cannot be the reality of a central university, where, as we write this letter, ATM cards linked to student accounts have been blocked barring students from making essential purchases. Students who attempted to cook for their peers were severely beaten up by the police for the absurd crime of ‘cooking in a public place’. The administration has imposed an emergency-like situation in one of India’s biggest universities. Today UoH resembles a surveillance state with students being attacked, and their basic needs like food, water and money being denied to them. As the University and state administration try to starve out its own students by using state machinery and the law to wage war on members of a public institution, the response of the city has been heartening, with residents of Hyderabad cooking and delivering food and water to the students.

In light of these developments, we appeal to all citizens to keep asking the unpleasant questions that Rohith’s suicide has raised; questions about the persistence of caste in our educational institutions, and the present government’s apathy and refusal to hold the university administration accountable. Universities are spaces for understanding our complex social structures where questions are and must be raised against the abuse of power and authoritarianism.

We the undersigned alumni of this university-in-turmoil write to draw attention to the atrocities that the students are experiencing for raising their voices against injustice. We stand with the students and faculty around the country in universities like UoH, JNU, FTII, DU, IIT Madras, University of Allahabad and numerous others that are fighting to uphold the freedoms that are guaranteed by our constitution. We stand with Radhika Vemula and her ongoing courageous struggle for justice against a casteist and patriarchal administration. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of students and faculty members who were ambushed and taken into judicial custody on the morning of March 22. We condemn any kind of violence that tries to suppress freedom of expression and seeks instead to spread fear. Let all students and citizens debate to make India the safest example of a real grassroot democracy. Let them speak for a just world where everyone feels safe to just be.
Name Affiliation Year of graduation Course of study
Nanditha Mathew Research Fellow, National Research Council, Italy. 2009 M.A and M.Phil Economics
Aabha Sharma KPMG India 2014 IMA Political Science
RASHAD MOIDEEN No Affiliation 2014  
Hameeda C. K. Student, JNU 2014  
VG Balaji Alumnus 2010  
Gopika G G PhD Scholar, Centre for Development Studies 2014  
Krishnendu Adiyat Student 2012  
Vaishnavi Shankar Instructional Designer 2008 MA English
Anu Salelkar Alumni, Student, Hyderabad Central University 2008  
Juby George Editor, Higher ed publisher 2010  
Silpa Satheesh Student, University of South Florida 2010  
Alamuru Soumya Frelane research scholar 2011  
Shauhrat S. Chopra Postdoctoral Researcher, Institute of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago 2009  
Carmel Christy Postdoctoral fellow, University of California Santa Cruz 2011  
Shijo Varghese Asst. Professor, Sacred Heart College, Thevara 2013  
A.P Sreeraj Assistant Professor, CUR 2010  
Abhigna S Academic Editor 2012  
Bestin Samuel Writer, World Vision India 2012 M.A English and MPhil Comparative Literature
Maithreyi M R Senior editor, BNHS-India 1997  
Ramesh Bairy Associate professor, IITB 2004  
Navika Harshe HCU/ alum 2004  
Anirban Dey Editor, Cambridge University Press 2010  
Bindhulakshmi P Associate Professor, TISS, Mumbai 2010  
Shipra Nigam Research Scholar , New Delhi 2000  
Jaseena t p Student 2003  
Tore Holst External lecturer, university of Roskilde 2007 MA English
Diana Gomes Alumni, UoH 2014 M.F.A Painting
Tharakeshwar Eflu 2014  
Rakesh Nanjappa Student, State University of New York 2014  
Priya Vijay PhD scholar, JNU 2014 M.A English and MPhil Comparative Literature
Shamsudheen U. K HCU alumni 2013  
Aparna R HCU alumni 2014  
Samiah Sultana Ex-student, University of Hyderabad 2015  
Mahaprajna Nayak CSSSC, Kolkata 2005  
Kirti Ajith Varma Independent researcher 2011  
Meghana Rao PhD Student, University of Toronto 2013  
Faiza Hasan Alumni, University of Hyderbad 2014  
Savitha Suresh Student, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore 2014  
Merlin Abey Theressa Analyst, Private Firm 2012  
Soumava Basu Student 2013  
Jithin Mathew Student IIT B 2012  
Soumya Balan Student 2010  
Nithin M Assistant Professor, MCC 2012  
Dhaneesh M P M.Phil Research Scholar 2002  
Sreekumar jayadevan IIT Jodhpur 2012  
Manjari Student, Central University of Gujarat 2012  
Ojas Shetty Independent Researcher 2015 MA Anthropology
Sheeja Rajagopal Student, IITM 2002 MA English
Abhishek Bakuli Student, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung 2008  
Abir Dasgupta Student, TISS 2011  
R K Debbarma Assistant Professor, TISS, Guwahati campus 2014  
Rahul Deshmukh Student, City University of New York 2012  
Gowri Shankar Student, UOH 2012  
Muhammed P Research Scholar, EFL University, Hyderabad 2007  
Deepti Chief copy editor, The Times of India 2011  
Sujata Mishra Policy Researcher 2010  
Rohit Thapa Teach For India 2007  
Himanshu Upadhyaya Assistant Professor, Azim Premji University 2014  
M Naresh Kumar Student 2003  
Tore Holst Recent PhD Graduate/Roskilde University 2006  
Shilpaa Anand Assistant Professor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University Hyderabad 2006  
Monty Majeed Journalist 2000  
Manjari Student, Central University of Gujarat 2011  
Vikas Kumar Moola M.Phil Social Sciences, CSSSC 2012 IMA Sociology
SALMA ASHRAF STUDENT, University of Hyderabad 2012  
Richa Gupta Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta/PhD research scholar 2012 MA English
Kevin B. Haynes Student, Western Michigan University 2012  
Nandini Chandrashekar Student 2014  
M Naresh Kumar Student/University of Hyderbad 2006 MA English
Kedar Kulkarni Student, University of Hyderabad 2006  
Nikhilesh Sinha Lecturer, Hult International Business School, London 2004 MA Economics
Arpan Ganguly Student, UoH/Graduate Instructor, Colorado State University 2004  
Tejaswini Madabhushi IIIT 2012  
Srinath raghunathan Student 2008  
Karteek Kunnala Student 2014  
Harshavardhan Student 2014  
Knut Aukland Phd candidate, University of Bergen, Norway 2014  
Asamol Mohan student 2008  
Lijinesh M T student 2010  
Ratheesh Radhakrishnan Associate Professor, Dept. of HSS, IIT Bombay 2011  
Devi G R PhD scholar, Dept. of Physics, IIT Madras 2012 M.Sc. Physics
Laishram Priyanka Alumni, University of Hyderabad 2014  
Sharmila Associate Professor, Dept. of HSS, IIT Bombay 2014  
Yacoub Zachariah Kuruvilla Phd Research Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai 2001  
Rekha Abel Independent Development Consultant 1995 Ph.D. Linguistics
Alex M. Thomas Senior Lecturer, Azim Premji University 2011 MA and MPhil Economics
K.Srilata Professor, Dept of HSS, IITM 1998 MA,  MPhil and PhD English
Tejaswini Niranjana Professor, TISS and Lingnan University 1998  
Swati Bandi Independent Scholar 1998 – present Faculty
Sujith Parayil student 2000  
Paromita Bose Assistant Professor, Mahindra Ecole Centrale 2014 M.Phil, PhD English
Jayanti K Chhetri Alumni, University of Hyderabad 2010  
Suresh Pittala Postdoc at Indian Institute of Science 2010  
Sanjeev C M Assistant Professor, NIFT 2000 MFA Painting
Jasmeet Sahi Freelance writer 2008 MA English
Anupama S Ex Student UoH 2008  
Priyanka Das Student, UOH 2014  
Sanjeev Routray Sessional Lecturer, University of British Columbia 2001  
Shashikantha Koudur Associate Professor, NIT, Karnataka 2001  
Amrit Amlan Pattanaik Senior Lecturer, Xavier University Bhubaneswar 2008  
Unika Prusty Freelance Journalist & Independent Researcher 2010  
Bidyut Sagar Boruah Independent Researcher 2009  
Dharashree Das PhD Candidate, Simon Fraser University, Canada 2001  
Gurveen Kaur Independent Researcher, Alumnus 1986  
Pridhvi Sabbineni Alumnus,University of Hyderabad (Physics) 2012  
Mohsin Khan Economist/consultant – Deloitte Malaysia 2009 MA Economics
Sawmya Ray Associate Professor, IITG 2009  
Vaskar Upadhyay UoH, MA English, 2001. Currently based IN, US 2009  
Kiriti Kanjilal PhD Student, Washington State University 2013  
Koshy Tharakan Professor, Goa University 1992  
Kushal Deb Professor, Dept. of HSS, IIT Bombay 1989  
Navaneetha Mokkil Maruthur Assistant Professor, JNU 2001  
TV Madhu Professor, University of Calicut 1996  
Lourembam Arnold Student, University of Hyderabad 2014-present  
Sudeshna Devi Student, Jawaharlal Nehru University 2007  
Shravan Kumar Alumni, University of Hyderabad 1997-1999 MA Communication – SN School
Avinandan Mukherjee Alumnus, University of Hyderabad 2007 MA English
Swathysree PhD Candidate, IIM Calcutta 2013  
Akhila M V Alumnus, University of Hyderabad 2011  
J S Sam Social Scientist 2007  
Sujith SN Artist. 2007 MFA – SN School
Uday Bhaskar Sharma Senior Research Fellow, IMSc, Chennai. 2011 M.Sc. Mathematics (Integrated)
Madhusudan Nag Research Scholar, Centre for Development Studies 2011-13 M.A in Economics
Umasankar Patra University of Delhi, Delhi 2011 MA English
Vishal Babu Editor, Viva Books Private Limited 2011 MA English
Parvathy Rajendran Student,JNU 2013  
Anandavardhanan Associate Professor, IIT Bombay 2002  
Vipin Krishna JNU PHD Student 2010  
Jaya Peter Student, HCU,HYDERABAD 1996  
Rekha Abel Independent Development Consultant 1995  
Divyaprabha V J Student 2012  
Anita Cherian Assistant Professor in English, Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi 1993  
Bindu K C Ambedkar University/ Assistant Professor 2004  
Anupama Ayyala Somayajala Central University, Gujarat/Assistant Professor 1998  
Venkatesh babu Student 1996  
Pratap Student 1996  
Anil kumar Student 1996  
Madhumita Biswal Central University, Assistant Professor 2009  
Sudarshan Papanna Central University, Gujarat/Assistant Professor 2012  
Abhishek Shaw Assistant Editor, Economic and Political Weekly 2011  
Jomy Abraham PhD research scholar, JNU 2013  
Deepak Rajula Student, UOH 2014  
Parvathi Cug 2009  
Kranthi Nanduri Fellow student, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta 2014  
Reshma Radhakrishnan Research Scholar, Delhi University 2005  
Parvathi K. Iyer Assistant Professor CUG 2009  
Amit Upadhyay Assistant Professor, TISS Hyderabad 2001 MA Sociology
Rituparna Sur university of hyderabad 2012  
D Parthasarathy IIT Bombay Professor 1995  
Ratheesh Kumar JNU/ Assistant Professor 2000  
Rajyashree Sen PhD student, Janelia Research Campus, VA 2012  
Dr. Robin Luke Varghese Independent Researcher 2015 MA, MPhil, PhD Philisophy
Niveditha Kalarikkal Assistant Professor, , Central University of Gujarat 2013  
Shamsiya Qosimova Independent Contractor, BBC Monitoring in Dushanbe 2001  
Sunitha M Lead Technical Writer, Wipro Technologies, Hyderabad 2006  
Saiyora Saimurodova Student, Master of Arts in Sociology, HCU 2001  
K.L.Leon Ex-Student,SN School,Painting 2003  
Dr.D.Anand Asst. Regional Director , Indira gandhi National Open University 2008  
Asmita Chaudhuri Project Fellow, Jadavpur University 2007 MA, Applied Linguistics
Samik Malla Research Scholar, IIT Madras 2013  
Smrti K.P IxD Architect, Nokia 2007 MPhil English, PhD Translation Studies
Dr. Itishree Pattnaik Assistant Professor, GIDR 2009 Phd Economics
Naresh S Ex-Student,SSB 2006  
Shivali Tukdeo NIAS, Bangalore    
Milan George Jacob Hindustan Times, New Delhi 2014 IMA Economics
S. Anand Publisher, Navyana 1997 MA and Mphil, Department of English
Elizabeth Priyanka Ex-student, MA Communication 2013 SN School.
Sumanta Thangjam Phd, Philosophy 2013  
Thushara Mohanan Ex Student , MA Communication 2009 SN School
Pritipushpa Mishra Lecturer, University of Southampton    
Jasmine Yimchunger Assistant Proffessor, Sikkim University 2007 MA Communications – SN School
Balendu Rashmi Bhumika Women’s Collective 2014 Integrated Masters in Sociology
Sudha Samyukta PRIA 2014 Integrated Masters in Sociology
Geetha Krishna PRIA 2014 Integrated Masters in Sociology
Vinitha Mokshagundam Lecturer, Mount Carmel College, Bangalore 2012 MA, M.Phil, History
Ado Kehie Student, IIT Guhati 2005 MA Sociology
Ganga Bhavani HCU 2004  
Jaishree Ram Mohan Editor, 1994  
Thungchobeni Assistant Professor,Alder College,Kohima. 2007  
Jyotsna Yedem HCU Alumni 2008  
Akshara Ravishankar Assistant Professor, Gargi College 2012  
Themeem T Asst. professor, St. Stephens College, Delhi 2015  
Vinitha Lecturer, Mount Carmel College, Bangalore 2012  
Suresh K Golle student 2009  
Vizokhonuo student 2015  
Pattela Omkar Nadh Student 2014  
Malavika Rao Performance maker 2008  
Monica Ex Student from UOH 2014  
Sumedha Student,HCU 2011  
Minu. A Alumni 2011  
Kiran Sikha Student 2012  
Naveen Kumar P Student 2011  
Deepthi Krisha T Student 2016  
Santosh Gurrani Alumni, Hyderabad Central University 2011  
Chandra Kiran Katta Communication Specialist/NGO 2006  
Queenie Fancon student 2009  
Shravan Kumar University of Hyderabad – Alumni 1999  
Dhilip Independent Researcher 2012  
Aswani RS HCU Student 2011  
Monica Nanjunda University Of Hyderabad – Alumni 2013 SN School Of Fine Arts
Kedar Kulkarni Research Assistant, FEEM, Italy 2014 IMA Economics
Rakesh R. Assistant Proffessor, St. John’s College 2012 MA and MPhil, Department of English
Imlienla Jamir Student, Analog IAS 2014 IMA Political Science
Ekta Singla Student, UCL-Institute of Education, London 2011 MA Applied Linguistics
S Sayujya Alumnus, UoH 2014 MPhil English
Anwesha Chakraborty Phd Student, University of Bologna 2007 MA English
Ratan Laishram Alumni HCU 2012 MA Economics
Sunil Kumar Polamuri IT Professional 1999 MA Applied Linguistics
Sukriti Kapur Student, Erasmus Mundus Masters Program 2014 MA Economics
Tharakeshwar V.B. Teacher, EFL University 1997 Ph.D. English
Madhurima Majumder Research fellow, Anveshi 2013  
M B Sudha Rani Media Professional 1999 MA Mass Communications
Rakesh Sengupta Post-doctoral researcher, York University, Toronto 2015 Ph.D., Cognitive Science
G Naga Sena Rana Media Professional 1999 MA Mass Communications
Sopei Joel Rungsung Media Professional 2013 MA Mass Communications
Sashikant alumnus 2000  
Aravind Parakkot Alumnus 2001 MA English
Anu K antony Research fellow, IIT, Bombay   MA, Mphil Sociology
Anna Mini Freelance writer 2014 MA Political Science
Anas Nazar      
Rajeswari S Alumnus 2004  
Yanger Kichu   2007 MA History
Asima Jena Assistant professor,Central University of Gujarat 2009  
Anuradha Banerji Research Scholar, Ambedkar University 2011  
Sreejith T Student 2012  
Mrudula Bhavani Ex-student 2015  
Anju Christine Lingham Student, King’s College London, University of London 2013  
Arathi R Student 2014  
Pallavi Student 2017  
Lakshmi Priya Student 2013  
Pranith Maddirala SN School, University of Hyderabad 2011  
Esfandiar Adina (Rahim Rahimov) Student 2002  
sukhvinder multani educationist and researcher 2004  
Varunika Saraf Artist 2006  
Monu Rajan Alumnus, UoH 2011  
Shriya sharma Student 2015  
Abhilash Augustine Student, JNU 2013  
madhav vinodh Student, UoH 2013  
Kathi Mahesh Kumar Student 2000  
Nagesh Muppavaram Student 2013  
Hariprasad R Student, central university of hyderabad 2011  
Godwin Student 2013  
Sujatha Girija Alumnae of HCU 2004  
Harini Kumar PhD student, University of Chicago 2011  
Elsa Oommen Warwick 2011  
Mariyam Mumthas student 2015  
Anagha Alumni 2015  
Anoop Daniel Student 2015  
Gautami Alumnus/University of Hyderabad 2012  
Nargis Vasundhara Student, Ph.D, Delhi University 2011  
National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights Calls for Immediate Action
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) condemns the brutal crackdown on students and teachers of the University of Hyderabad. The crackdown was on protestors in the University Campus. In January 2016, a research scholar, Rohith Vemula committed suicide after this scholarship was stopped and he was thrown out of the hostel following a protest organised by Ambedkar Students Association against the judicial killing of Yakub Memon. The five students thrown out of hostel all belonged to the Dalit community. The vice-chancellor who is responsible for this institutional murder went on a leave during the thick of the matter.

The vice-chancellor, Appa Rao re-joined on March 22nd 2016, despite a criminal case under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989 filed against him. He joined calling upon media for a press conference announcing his return.

The student and teacher body protested against his re-joining as vice-chancellor. The protestors were brutally attacked by the police, male police officials physically assaulted female students, and they were lathi charged. Currently 36 students and 3 faculty members are detained in undisclosed locations and many students who were brutally injured during the attack are in different hospitals. 9 students are in judicial remand. They have no food or water served. At least 100 police officials continue to be on campus.

The Internet was disconnected on campus disallowing students to disseminate information on details of the attack or the status of the arrest. Thus isolating the students and teachers body from rest of the civil society.

NCDHR is anguished by the state apathy towards students from marginalised communities. This reflects the total apathy of the administration and the government towards the issue of exclusionary practices in higher education. The attack is not just on the student body and their right to dissent but gravely undermines democratic spaces and values as enshrined in the Constitution.

We demand –
  • Immediate unconditional release of Prashant Dontha of Ambedkar Student Association, along with other 35 students and 3 faculty members.
  • Immediately arrest and take action against the Vice-Chancellor under SC/ST PoA Act.
  •  The act of re-joining office by the VC, while the case is still in the process of investigation is aborting justice and scuttling it.
  • Police to immediately leave University premises.
  • Restoration of basic facilities to the student body.
  • Students and teachers must be consulted in entire process.
  • MHRD to ensure campuses are free from police brutality and violence.
  • Government to immediately enact Rohith Act to act as a safeguard against exclusionary practices.
On behalf of National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights,
Prof Vimal Thorat, Mr N Paul Divakar, Ms Asha Kowtal and Dr VA Ramesh Nathan
HCU: Students and Faculty Arrested for Peaceful Protests Must be Released
Amnesty International India condemns the police crackdown on peacefully protesting University of Hyderabad (UoH) students and faculty and demands their immediate release.

There should be an independent investigation into allegations of excessive use of force by the police. On 22 March, the Telangana police assaulted protesting students in the UoH campus. Students were protesting against the return of the vice-chancellor of the university whom they hold responsible for the suicide of a Dalit Student, Rohith Vemula, in January 2016.

‘Violence against protesting students in a university cannot under any circumstance be justified. Allegations of sexual violence and threats by the police to women students must be investigated and those suspected of being responsible must be prosecuted,’ said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.

“Any protesters who can legitimately be charged for acts of violence or vandalism must be prosecuted and tried in proceedings which meet international fair trial standards.”

‘Male police brutally grabbed, molested, tossed and beat female students and faculties alike. Female faculties were grabbed by their hair and dragged into vans. Male students were swept inside the van and were beaten without mercy,’ said Vaikhari Aryat, a UoH student, in her Facebook post. Akshita Chitla, a student of UoH told Amnesty International India, ‘I was dragged outside from the VC office where I was protesting. Police told us not to behave like prostitutes and threatened us with rape. Most of my friends who were girls were slapped and kicked by male and female police officers.’ 25 students and two faculty members among the protesters have been arrested for allegedly vandalizing the vice-chancellor’s office and booked for rioting, criminal intimidation and damage to public property. If found guilty they could be imprisoned for up to 7 years.

Udaya Bhanu, a UoH student and President of the Madiga Students Federation is one of many students admitted in hospital because of the police assault. He said there are injuries across his body including blood clot in his ear and that the doctors suspect internal bleeding. “Yesterday there was no food and water in the campus. So we decided to help the protesting students by arranging some food and water for them. While we were bringing the food packets the police spotted us and said we were encouraging the protesting students. They started beating us up and threatened us if we supported the protesting students,’ said Udaya Bhanu from the hospital.On Tuesday evening the university authorities closed the gates to the campus, preventing the protesters from accessing essential supplies. It was only on Thursday morning, in response to some students underlining human rights violations, that the university authorities restored such essential supplies. The situation in the campus remains tense.

‘Students have a right to protest. Denying students electricity, water and food merely because they are protesting is unacceptable,’ said Aakar Patel.

Caste-based discrimination on campus has been at the center of the protests in UoH. Students who belong to Dalit, Adivasi and other vulnerable communities have consistently spoken out against their marginalization on the campus, and claim that civil liberties are being eroded. An anti-discrimination committee meeting on the UoH campus that was scheduled on March 24 to look into wider representation of Dalit and Adivasi students in decision making bodies was never convened.

‘The university must act to ensure it remains an inclusive place for everyone; there must be no discrimination against those who belong to certain castes or profiling of students because they are politically active on this issue’, said Aakar Patel.

The assault on students in campus and their arrest by the police violates many provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and the Indian Constitution. Article 19 of the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech and expression and freedom of peaceful assembly. Arrests of peaceful protesters violate India’s obligations under international law, specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, set out in Article 19 and Article 21 of that treaty. The arrest of the students and holding them for almost 24 hours without giving any information about their status is in breach of numerous international human rights standards including the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.

There is a long documented history of systematic and organized marginalization of Dalits within Indian society. The UoH campus has been at the center of an ongoing protest that began after the social boycott and suspension of five Dalit students in 2015 over allegations of violence against other students. These allegations were brought forward by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP) which is the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling political party in India. None of those allegations of violence were proven and the students continue to face marginalization by the university authorities. In January 2016, one of the five students, a 26-year-old PhD scholar Rohith Vemula committed suicide. His suicide galvanized student protests across the country.
HRD Ministry should not be Converted into Hindu Rashtra Development Ministry: CPM

Stand with HCU: CPI-M’s Memorandum to the President

CPI-M Memorandum to President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee that General Secretary of the Party, Sitaram Yechury will be presenting at 7.30 p.m. on March 25, 2016

Text of the Memorandum:

Hon'ble President of India
Rashtrapati Bhawan
New Delhi

Dear Rashtrapathiji,

I am writing this letter to you with a deep sense of anguish regarding the ongoing developments in the Hyderabad Central University.

The honourable President of India is the Visitor of this central university. There is an ongoing dispute with the newly appointed Vice Chancellor. The students, faculty and the entire university community has been agitating for redressing the circumstances which led to the tragic suicide of a bright research scholar, Rohith Vemula. After this suicide, the Vice Chancellor proceeded on long leave and he suddenly surfaced and took charge on March 22. His resumption of charge was accompanied by a brutal police action against the students and the university community about which I am sure you are aware.

The demand for the removal of this particular Vice Chancellor by the university community is being met with such a police action which has continued on March 23 as well. The water connection to the hostels, access to wifi, food supplies to the hostel mess - all have been discontinued. When the students themselves organised the cooking of food for the inmates they were once again attacked by the police and all those facilities destroyed.
The reason I am writing to you is because on the issue of removal of the Vice Chancellor, the HRD ministry has officially stated to the media the following:

"Regarding the demand for the removal of the VC the ministry has conveyed the same to the Visitor who is the appointing authority."

Regarding the police action the ministry says that this is an "issue of law and order (that) comes under the jurisdiction of the state government".

This was conveyed to the entire media in the country by the HRD spokesperson Ghanshyam Goel (as reported in the Hindu web edition of March 24, 2016). Further, the news agency ANI  has also put out on social media and the electronic media the same explanation.

The honourable President of India, who is the visitor of the University has now been dragged into the controversy by the HRD ministry. Given this, I am approaching you to intervene in this situation to restore normalcy in this premier central university in our country. As of now some students are still in hospital with serious injuries. Twenty six students have been detained and are in judicial custody along with two members of the faculty. Thus a total of twenty eight persons are in jail.

Further, we are informed that the first decision taken by the Vice Chancellor upon his return was to defer the meeting of the Academic Council on Thursday (March 24), which was convened by the in-charge Vice Chancellor to discuss the setting up of an anti-discrimination committee on the campus, to ensure adequate representation of SCs and STs  on various committees of the university and to consider the proposal to increase the non-NET fellowship from Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 25,000 per month on parity with the Junior Research Fellowship in the country. The in-charge Vice Chancellor has reportedly pleaded that he had no knowledge of the Vice Chancellor returning to assume charge of the university.

Following the tragic suicide of Rohith Vemula there was a case registered against the Vice Chancellor for aiding and abetting this suicide. Instead of proceeding on this case this gruesome attack on the university community was mounted by the police.

Since the honourable President of India as the Visitor of the Hyderabad Central University has been dragged into this controversy by the HRD ministry, I am approaching you to please intervene and ensure that the HCU Vice Chancellor who took a blatantly anti-dalit stand violating all established norms of social inclusion in the university must be removed forthwith. The case registered against him with the police must be proceeded with and justice must be delivered to the university community and the country.

I would also urge upon you to please intervene to ensure that the Human Resources Development ministry is not allowed to be converted into the Hindu Rashtra Development ministry.

Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, CPI(M)
Letter by CPI(M), Sitaram Yechury addressed to the Telangana Chief Minister, Shri K Chandrasekar Rao
Full text of the letter addressed by CPI(M) General Secretary, Sitaram Yechury addressed to the Telangana Chief Minister, Shri K Chandrasekar Rao today on the brutal attack on students and faculty members of Hyderabad Central University (HCU).

March 23, 2016
Shri Chandrasekar Rao Garu,

I have tried in vain to contact you over telephone the whole day today. Several messages have been left with your staff, but there has been no response.  Having thus failed, I am writing this letter.

I am writing this letter with a sense of anguish and anger.  I am particularly agonized at writing this letter to you on the martyrdom day of Shahid Bhagat Singh.

The brutal police attack against students and other sections of the academic community in the Hyderabad Central University yesterday has been followed up by another round of attack today.  Continuing the manner with which the students were dealt with by the Telangana police yesterday, the police today have reportedly mounted yet another attack inside the campus.  The manner in which the girl students were attacked by the male police with  the liberal usage of foul language against them is reprehensible.

Following the stoppage of water connection, access to wifi, food supplies to the hostel messes, the students themselves organized the preparation of food for the hostel inmates.  Today, all these facilities were attacked by the police and the Vice Chancellor has reportedly shut down the hostels.
Most of us in the country are aghast at the manner in which such brutal assault is mounted on the university community by the Telangana police in one of the premier Central universities of our country.

The Vice Chancellor who proceeded on leave following the tragic suicide of Rohith Vemula was booked under charges of aiding and abetting this suicide by creating the circumstances leading to this tragedy.  Instead of proceeding against the Vice Chancellor on this case, the Telangana police has resorted to such brutality against the students.

The students were protesting against the return of this Vice Chancellor and demanding that the case against him must be proceeded with.  It is clear that the police action under the sanction of the state government was to facilitate the return of this Vice Chancellor.

Further, we are informed that the first decision taken by the Vice Chancellor upon the return was to defer the meeting of the Academic Council on Thursday (March 24), which was convened by the in-charge Vice Chancellor to discuss the setting up of an anti-discrimination committee on the campus, to ensure adequate representation of SCs and STs  on various committees of the university and to consider the proposal to increase the non-NET fellowship from Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 25,000 per month on parity with the Junior Research Fellowship in the country. The in-charge Vice Chancellor has reportedly pleaded that he had no knowledge  of the Vice Chancellor returning to assume charge of the university.

The Telangana government, under your stewardship, has been vocal in announcing that it champions the interests of the overwhelming bulk of the state's population that comes from SC/ST and various Other Backward Classes and the marginalized sections.  Surely, your government and administration cannot concur with these latest decisions of this Vice Chancellor.  Yet, it is the Telangana police, under the remit of your government, that has spearheaded this brutal attack against the university and the students.

This has happened as the university community continues to remain traumatized over the tragic suicide of Rohith Vemula and the circumstances created on the campus leading to such a tragedy.

Instead of proceeding, I repeat, against the Vice Chancellor on the basis of the case registered against him, your government has discharged this responsibility of mounting this attack against this university community.

It is being reported in the media that 28 students, who are victims of this brutal lathi charge, have now been remanded  into custody and lodged at the Central Jail.

In the fitness of living up to your own proclamations and assurances, the arrested students must be released immediately and the cases against them must be dropped.  The Telangana police must immediately proceed on the registered cases against the Vice Chancellor.  As this is a Central University, we are demanding of the Central Government that their appointed

Vice Chancellor be removed forthwith.

Yours sincerely

Sitaram Yechury,
General Secretary, CPI(M)