Hyderabad, March 28 2016 | The National Alliance of People’s Movements is shocked at the brutality that has been meted out to the students and faculty of University of Hyderabad (UoH).We condemn, in the strongest possible words, the violence unleashed on the peaceful protesters on the 22nd March, followed by arrests of 27 students and 2 faculty members. In a complete violation of basic human rights, the university administration denied access to food, water, electricity and even freedom of movement to students for the next two days, imprisoning them within their own university. As if this was not enough, those arrested were beaten up even in the police custody and even after remand, while the witch-hunt of students and militarization of the campus continues to this moment. Various fact-findings have revealed that the allegation of “vandalism” by students is a mere fig-leaf for repression.
It is, however, important to note that this is not a one-off incident. It is an extension of the continuous repression faced, and fought bravely, by the student’s movement of the university in the past few months. Challenging the casteist and fascist State and its visible influence on the autonomy of the university, as well as in the lives of the students, especially of those from oppressed communities, has been an important contribution of the movement. They have raised pertinent questions about caste, capital punishment, food-fascism, gender, discrimination within the university, fellowships of students, among others, thereby shaping a discourse of dissent and criticality.
This is, evidently, a threat and a reason enough to invite the wrath of the powers that be. From the Minister of Human Resource Development Smriti Irani to MP Bandaru Dattatreya, along with the Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao and the anti-student administration, all colluded to orchestrate an unprecedented attack on the students, finally leading to the institutional murder of Dalit research scholar and Ambedkarite activist Rohith Vemula. However, Rohith’s killing sparked a country-wide uprising of students against the Brahminical Hindutva nature and workings of the ruling party, and this recent attack and reinstating of the VC when the case against him is still sub judice, is only to suppress the momentum gained by the movement and the questions it raises.
The National Alliance of People’s Movements stands in complete solidarity with the struggling students of the UoH and demands:
- Immediate release of all students and faculty members and dropping of all charges against them. End Police Raj on the campus.
- Immediate removal of the VC Appa Rao and resignation of Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya
- Enactment of Rohith Act and ending caste-based discrimination on campuses.
- Legal action against all those responsible for the repression against the students and faculty at UoH.
We wish to reiterate that these fearless young people, their articulation, clarity of thought and vision and their commitment make us hopeful of the times ahead, and we stand with them and join them in the struggle for democratic and just universities as well as the whole of society.
Medha Patkar – Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Prafulla Samantara – Lok Shakti Abhiyan & Lingraj Azad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha; Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti & Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP; Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe – NAPM, Maharashtra; Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN; C R Neelkandan – NAPM Kerala; P Chennaiah &Ramakrishnan Raju – NAPM Andhra Pradesh, Arundhati Dhuru, Richa Singh – NAPM, UP; Sister Celia – Domestic Workers Union & Rukmini V P, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka; Vimal Bhai – Matu Jan sangathan & Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand; Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant – Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat; Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan & Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar; Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, & J S Walia, NAPM Haryana; Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan; Amitava Mitra & Sujato Bhadra, NAPM West Bengal; B S Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini & Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar and Shabnam Shaikh – NAPM, Delhi.