Hyderabad: The vice chancellor of the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), E Suresh Kumar, stepped down from his position on Tuesday, January 1, citing personal reasons.
Pro-vice-chancellor Professor Surabhi Bharati, Department of Linguistics and Phonetics, has been handed over the charge, as interim VC, till a new appointment is made or until further orders.
E Suresh Kumar was in the spotlight as EFLU made headlines amid protests over the reconstitution of the Sensitisation, Prevention and Redressal of Sexual Harassment (SPARSH) committee and the sexual assault of a female student on Campus on October 18.
On October 16, about 300 students protested for over 24 hours, demanding the reconstitution of the university’s Sensitisation, Prevention and Redressal of Sexual Harassment (SPARSH) committee.
Students said that the previous SPARSH committee constituted under an EFLU ordinance based on the Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act of 2013, had been defunct since June 2023.
Just a day after the protest, a female student was sexually assaulted on the night of October 18 at around 10 pm, which led to further protests against the administration the following night, October 19.
Protesting EFLU students booked
The police then booked 11 students of the university, based on the proctor’s complaint, after the protests on October 19 over the administration’s disregard for the students’ issues demanding that the victim’s name be revealed in public.
The students continued their protest, demanding that the Proctor be removed from his position while expressing no faith in the investigation with the proctorial board in place.
Second FIR, Hunger strike
The second FIR was registered against four students on November 3, for allegedly harassing and humiliating a visually impaired faculty member on campus.
The students intensified their protests on November 6, with an indefinite hunger strike, where at least 7 students were detained by the police. On November 7, removed Proctor T Samson and appointed him Dean of Planning. However, on December 19 he was reinstated by the university.
The students were forced to call off their hunger strike on November 14 as the administration cut all communication with the protestors, failing their aim for transparency in reaching a truce.
After the students called off their protest, a third FIR was booked against them by the EFLU Registrar, Prof Narasimha Rao Kedari.
In the fresh complaint, Kedari raised concern over the written and vocal slogans by the students including, ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ (long live revolution) on the main entrance of the campus. Claiming that the slogans were objectionable, the EFLU Registrar feared that “this may lead to violence and unrest in the University.”
He also alleged that they were blocking the main entrance of the university which has been prohibited and the faculty was being forced to use “other smaller entry/exit points because of their misconduct.”