Fresh Protests Against Appa Rao in HCU, Several Activists Arrested

The protest was staged in response to the ‘Chalo HCU’ called by Joint Action Committee for Social Justice.

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Students clash with policemen at a protest held in Hyderabad Central University on 22 March, 2016. (Photo: PTI)

Protests, both on and off the campus, rocked Hyderabad Central University (HCU) on Wednesday, as students demanded the 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. There is currently a 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 onto the gate of the university.

Holding banners and placards, the activists of Students’ Federation of India, Progressive Democratic Students’ Union and All India Democratic Students’ Organisation sat in front of the main gate.

A fire broke out on the campus, near the newly formed Rohith Vemula stupa, during the student protest.

Policemen were seen dragging protesters to the vans and taking them away.

One of the placards read ‘Recall Appa Rao’ and ‘Sack Dattatreya, sack Smriti Irani from cabinet’.

The protest was staged in response to the ‘Chalo HCU’ called by Joint Action Committee for Social Justice (JAC). It is an umbrella group of various students’ organisations that condemn police excesses on students and continued lockdown of the campus since Appa Rao’s return as vice chancellor.

Protests 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 were stopped by university security and police.

The protestors squatted on the ground and raised slogans against the VC.

Student organisations protest against HCU VC Appa Rao, demand his resignation. (Photo: ANI)
Student organisations protest against HCU VC Appa Rao, demand his resignation. (Photo: ANI)

The JAC has given a call for a voluntary boycott of classes on Wednesday.

Police beefed security around the VC’s lodge, the scene of violent protests on 22 March when Appa Rao resumed charge as VC after a 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 22 March during the police crackdown on protestors. They were in jail for a week before being released on bail.

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