EFLU protest: 31 UoH students booked for ‘unlawful gathering’

EFLU protest: 31 UoH students booked for ‘unlawful gathering’

The Osmania University (OU) police booked 31 students from the University of Hyderabad (UoH) and detained 14 students from English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) and National Students’ Union of India (NSUI).

Officials said the UoH students were booked for carrying out a rally without permission and violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

The EFLU students began a relay hunger strike from 1 p.m. on Monday to press the university management to meet their demands. The students maintained that the decision came after the continued apathy towards students’ concerns.

Protest began on the campus on October 16 with the students demanding the reconstitution of the  Sensitisation, Prevention and Redressal of Sexual Harassment committee and elections to the student body. Two days later, on the night of October 18, a student was allegedly ambushed and sexually assaulted by two unidentified men on the campus.

On Monday students from the UoH showed up in support of the protesting EFLU students and took out a rally on the road opposite EFLU. “We had sent police teams for bandobast for the protest; they picked up the students for gathering and taking out a rally without permission, which violates the MCC,” said the OU police. The students were booked under Section 188 of the IPC. 

Faculty members join students

For the first time since October 16, several faculty members from EFLU joined the students gathered inside the main gate of the campus on Monday. Requesting anonymity a faculty member said, “What happened in the last fortnight was students filing complaints of harassment by faculty and fellow students, and no one was listening. They only wanted a committee set up for their protection and they held peaceful protests. The violence part came from the police. The students are scared. One of them was assaulted and hurt. How can we teach in an environment like this?”

The students from EFLU claim that they feel unsafe with the inaction and lack of support from the management. They said that before the hunger strike even began, police entered the campus to detain the students.

The demands by the students include justice for the survivor and arrest of the perpetrators involved in the sexual assault reported on October 18, withdrawal of the wrongful FIRs and show cause notices against students, reconstitution of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) with elected student representatives, strictly in accordance with UGC regulations, and without administrative members, especially those who have shown their inability to handle such a case sensitively and responsibly.

Vice-Chancellor responds

Responding to the recent developments, Vice-Chancellor of EFLU E. Suresh Kumar said that the issues can be resolved amicably and that the survivor of the assault has been given full academic support of the management. “The management registering cases and FIRs against the student is nothing personal. They had gheraoed the proctor at his residence with a demand to resign, hours before the survivor even gave an official statement about the incident. They want the management to speak to them while they hold protests with 300 students, which is not possible. However, I am ready to listen to them if they approach for a proper discussion. Discipline must prevail on the campus and the students must be sensible enough to understand the value of their education,” he said.

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