Akshita Indira Rajender, M.Sc. students of Physics Department at HCU, gives this chilling account of police brutalities



Akshita: I’m Akshita, doing Integrated MSc. from the Physics Department.

Yesterday we were all there to protest against Appa Rao taking charge as Vice Chancellor. Till 4.30 we sat there, our demand was simple – to arrest the Vice Chancellor. Because he was not even granted an interim bail by the court. When he is a prime accused in the institutional murder of a Dalit student, it is the responsibility of the police to take him away from the crime scene. But instead he has taken the position as the Vice Chancellor, a very influential position, where he can tamper with the evidence and at the same time influence the witnesses, like we’ve seen yesterday.

So we were sitting there till 4.30, and the police suddenly started dragging us outside. We formed a chain and were guarding students. From behind they started dragging students. And it was only some ten girl students in the end who were left there. The male police were behaving very rude and they were calling us names. They were telling us that “you are girls and you people should behave like girls and not like prostitutes”. They were even giving rape threats to students.

Interviewer: Police has given rape threats?

Akshita: Yes, the police was giving us rape threats. And they threatened that they will cut us into pieces.

Interviewer: There were no senior officers at that time?

Akshita: It was the senior officers who were doing all these things. The male police were the ones who were raising hands to slap girl students over there. And in the end they brought the women force and they dragged us. The women force was also very rude and they were slapping and at the same time a few of the girl students were beaten up in the stomach with their boots. These students were vomiting and still they were being dragged. Each and every girl student there was slapped and brutally dragged.

Interviewer: Did they hurt you?

Akshita: Yes, yes… Me and everybody over there. They slapped us, they called us names and it was such a humiliation to see all that. And the Vice Chancellor who is supposed to be our guardian when we are away from home was just sitting inside and watching the police lathi charge the students, watching the police calling the girl students names.

Interviewer: So when the police attacked the students, was some faculty there at that time?

Akshita: Yes, the faculty was there, and when the police was chasing us towards Humanities, just to clear the way for the Vice Chancellor, they randomly picked up students and they put them in the vans and at the same time an ambulance also. They used the ambulance for detaining students.. for hurting students. So even in the van the students were beig brutally beaten up and when a few professors, Shobha Naresh, K.Y. Ratnam when they went in to the rescue of the students then even K.Y. Ratnam was taken into the van and punched 5 times.

Interviewer: You saw with your eyes?

Akshita: Yes.So these were te things which were happening inside the van and this is a clear violation of human rights, and..

Interviewer: So they have beaten up the faculty?

Akshita: Yeah, they have beaten up the faculty.

Interviewer: As well as male students?

Akshita: Yeah and at the same time Professor Shobha Naresh, even she was dragged, pushed and pulled by the police. So this was the situation, even the professors, students, everybody was brutally beaten up, brutally lathi charged and even today it continues… And the infomation is not being passed, the media is not being allowed inside and at the same time the students are being intimidated just for cooking at shop com (shopping complex) because the administration has blocked food, blocked water, blocked internet facility and yesterday they have gone on record saying they are going to block electricity also. So this is the way they are trying to intimidate students. But we stay together, we stand together strong, we are going to fight this vice chancellor, we are going to continue with the struggle in the most democratic way possible.

Interviewer: And today some more students were again picked up or?

Akshita: Yeah, they were picked up – they were cooking in the shopping complex, since they were not allowed, I mean, they were not provided food in the mess so they were cooking in the shopping complex and a few of the poice told that you cannot cook here. So what do they want us to do? They dont want us to cook here, they don’t want to cook [themselves], so they want us to starve us to death, by not providing water, by not providing food…

Interviewer: Is there any information about the students who were picked up yesterday and today, like where they were taken…

Akshita: Yeah, some 34 students and two professors were picked up yesterday. One after the other, they were changing police stations. They were not giving us information. And this shameless administration who has to be in the forefront to protect its students from any kind of outside forces has given free hand to the outside forces. Especially the state machinery, to randomly pick up students inside the university, to randomly lathi charge, to attack students, to intimidate students, this is the way this Vice Chancellor is showing his attitude to students. You know, I don’t care what you all do, I don’t care if you die also. but I want my position as Vice Chancellor.

Interviewer: Did the police mention why they want the students to vacate the place?

Akshita: The police has mentioned that it is the VC’s personal residence, and you shouldn’t stay here. But when a Vice Chancellor is using his residence for holding an Executive Council meeting, which is supposed to be for adminstrative purpose, and if it is not held in the administration block, wherever it is being held, wherever the administrative proceedings are being held, students will automatically go and protest there. If it is your personal residence, you have to use it for your own personal purposes. But instead you are using it for your administrative purposes. So obviously students will come and protest.

Interviewer: Do you want to say any final thing? Because, I saw actually, I was shooting yesterday, when they slapped you and some other senior students. So do you want to say something to the senior police officers, or to the more senior people who are in the government, the way they treated the students, the women students especially?

Akshita: Yes, of course. It is obviously the Telangana government which has sponsored this state machinery into the university, giving them free hand to do whatever they want in the university. And there was clear violation of human rights yesterday. And it continues to be so. The senior police officers who are supposed to have that [sense of] responsibility, that these people are also the citizens of this country, who have been contributing so much for the advancement of this country, they were calling us names and at the same time they were furious at the fact that we students are getting fellowships. So this is how these neoliberal policies are working… The police were furious especially at the fact that we are getting fellowships. The same thing happened with JNU, same thing is happening with HCU. Because we are getting fellowships, we are not supposed to do anything else but study!

Especially when a student has committed suicide, was institutionally murdered, it is our duty, our responsibility, as citizens of this country, to protest against it, and to make sure that justice is met with. But instead this police force is continuously trying to suppress the voices of students.

But it cannot do it because this movement is not confined to the four walls of HCU, it has gone across the country, across the globe.. Students are protesting everywhere. This movement is not going to stop.

Government, whatever you want to do, you can do. But we will continue with our struggle in the most democratic way possible.

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