Tension mounted in Hyderabad Central University following the resumption of duty by controversial Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile with authorities on Wednesday barring outsiders from entering the campus and classes being suspended for four days.
“In view of the situation, classes are suspended from March 23 to 26. We have taken a decision not to allow any outsider, including mediapersons and political parties, on the campus,” Registrar M Sudhakar told PTI when asked about the proposed visit of JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar to the university.
Police said additional forces have been deployed on the campus as a precautionary measure and pickets set up around Podile’s official residence.
Kumar arrived at Hyderabad airport at around 11.45 am. He was invited by the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice of University of Hyderabad to address students who are protesting over the death of PhD research student Rohith Vemula. He was received at the airport by CPI leaders including CPI National Committee member K Narayan.
“Today is Bhagat Singh’s death anniversary and I salute him. I came to Hyderabad to meet Rohith Vemula’s mother. I have also been invited by protesting students and Joint Action Committee to address them in the evening. If police allows, then I will address them,” Kanhaiya said. The move comes after the VC sought protection following Tuesday’s incidents when his residence was vandalised allegedly by a group of students who were opposing his return as the Vice Chancellor after a two-month leave. “The situation is peaceful. Forces have been deployed to maintain law and order,” Joint Commissioner of Cyberabad Police TV Sashidhar Reddy said. Police resorted to lathi-charge on students who were protesting outside the VC’s official residence.
The students had raised slogans against the Vice Chancellor, barged into his residence, broken window panes, smashed doors and television set among other items. The students demanded that the VC be arrested immediately as he was one of the accused in Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula’s alleged suicide case on January 17. Podile, who is in the eye of a storm over Vemula’s suicide, had proceeded on leave on January 24 as the agitating students demanded his resignation and held vigorous protests seeking “justice” for the Dalit student.