Osmania University, once the hotbed of Telangana agitation, turned into a battle zone again with the police launching a midnight swoop on the campus on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday.
The raid happened hours before the ‘Chalo Assembly’ call given by Telangana Democratic Forum (TDF), an umbrella body of 375 people’s organisations.
The police descended on the campus around 11 pm and began knocking the doors of hostels. It focussed specifically on Maneru hostel, where the students allegedly discussed and drew up plans for the Chalo Assembly rally. The police conducted raids simultaneously the hostels of Nizam College too. The president of the Student’s Federation of India’s Osmania University unit Murthy and secretary Musafir were arrested at the Arts College.
The call for the march to the Assembly followed the killing of young CPI-Maoist activists Sruthi and Vidyasagar near Tadwai mandal of Warangal district by the police on 16 September. The TDF alleged that the police had killed them in fake encounters after torturing them.
The rally was supposed to have commenced at Sundarayya Vignana Kendra and move towards the assembly, which is currently in session. However, the police forces thwarted it by taking hundreds of people into preventive custody. In all, the TDF leaders and Left parties claimed, over 6,500 people were arrested by the police across the state.
Professor G Haragopal, renowned rights activist and president of People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), told Firstpost that the students, who were the backbone of the separate statehood movement, had lost faith in the Telangana government. “The government has failed to create jobs for the youth and meet their aspiration. They feel let down,” he said.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had irked the students earlier by his decision to construct houses for weaker sections on land on university campuses. He remained adamant despite protests. Besides, political science professor in Osmania University M Kodandaram, who was the chairman of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (T-JAC) during the agitation, has distanced himself from the TRS. KCR’s party, thus, has been losing support in Osmania University for sometime now.
The Tuesday night’s swoop by the police on the campus has only widened the rift between the students and the government.
Revolutionary writer Varavara Rao, who was the first to condemn the midnight swoop on the campus, was arrested on Wednesday. Civil Liberties Committee joint secretary Raghunath said that it was an attack on freedom of expression. Describing the preventive arrest of people, who are descending on Hyderabad for participating in the Chalo Assembly, as undemocratic, he said that the police behaved in a highhanded manner with students.
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