Hyderabad: Protests erupted again on and outside the campus of Hyderabad Central University on Wednesday with a section of students sticking to their demand for removal of vice chancellor P. Appa Rao.
There were clashes between protesters and security personnel at the main gate as activists of various students and youth organisations marched to the campus and tried to barge in to demand lifting of restrictions on entry of activists, students and others into the campus.
Raising slogans against the vice chancellor, the protesters climbed on the gate and tried to push their way into the campus as police and university security personnel resisted.
Holding banners and placards, the activists of SFI, PDSU and AIDSO staged a noisy protest, triggering tension.
Terming this as unlawful assembly, police from Cyberabad, by displaying a banner, warned the protesters to disperse.
Policemen were seen dragging protesters to waiting vans and taking them away.
Some of the placards read “Recall Appa Rao” and “Sack Dattatreya, sack Smriti Irani from cabinet”.
The protest was in response to the “Chalo HCU” called by the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, an umbrella group of various students’ organisations to condemn police excesses on students and continued lockdown of the campus since Rao’s return as vice chancellor.
Inside the campus, the JAC members staged a protest outside the VC Lodge, where Appa Rao was presiding over the meeting of the Academic Council.
Stating that Rao has no right to continue as vice chancellor and preside over the council, the students took out the march but were stopped by university security and police.
The protesters squatted on the ground and raised slogans against the vice chancellor.
The JAC had given a call for voluntary boycott of classes on Wednesday.
Police beefed security around VC Lodge, the scene of violent protest on March 22, the day when Rao resumed charge as vice chancellor after nearly a two-month leave.
The JAC has been protesting his return on the ground that he has been booked under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
He was named in the FIR registered after the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula in January.
The JAC blames Rao for Vemula’s suicide.
As many as 25 students and two faculty members were arrested on March 22 during the police crackdown on protesters. They were in jail for a week before being released on bail.
Meanwhile, a professor walked out of the Academic Council, taking exception to Rao’s continuance as vice chancellor.
V. Krishna came out soon after the meeting began. He also announced his resignation as the controller of examination.
Some other teachers who attended the meeting reportedly questioned Rao’s return as the vice chancellor.
Students union president Zuhail K.P. and general secretary Raju Kumar Sahu also boycotted the Academic Council meeting.
According to the university, 106 faculty members out of the total 170 attended the meeting, which commenced with members observing a minute silence and offering condolence on the “sad and untimely passing away” of Economics professor A.V. Raja and Rohith Vemula.
“The appointment of an ombudsman, activating the Equal Opportunities Cell, and the appointment of an anti-discrimination officer in line with relevant UGC regulations of 2012 were discussed in detail and the Academic Council decided to put in place a mechanism to redress relevant issues at the earliest,” a university statement said.