Hyderabad: Protests both on and outside the campus was rocked Hyderabad Central University (HCU) on Wednesday, demanding immediate removal of Vice Chancellor P. Appa Rao.
Police arrested scores of activists of various students groups at the main gate as they tried to barge in to protest the continued ban on entry of activists, media and others in the campus.
Raising slogans against the vice chancellor and central ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya, the protestors climbed on to the gate. Holding banners and placards, the activists of SFI, PDSU and AIDSO sat in front of the main gate.
Policemen were seen dragging protestors to waiting vans and taking them away. One 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 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 Appa Rao’s return as vice chancellor.
Protest also broke out on the campus as protesting students marched towards VC Lodge, where Appa Rao was presiding over the meeting of Academic Council. Stating that Rao has no right to continue as VC and preside over the council, the students took out the march but we’re stopped by university security and police. The protestors squatted on the ground and raised slogans against VC.
The JAC has 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 Appa Rao resumed charge as VC after nearly two month long 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 protestors. They were in jail for a week before being released on bail.