Ambedkar University Delhi Faculty Association (AUDFA)

25th March, 2016
AUDFA is shocked at the unprecedented police brutalities unleashed on students and teachers at the University of Hyderabad. We strongly condemn the situation of ‘undeclared emergency’ brought upon the University campus disallowing free movement in and out of the campus, blocking of students’ debit cards and disconnection of internet access. The disruption of mess services in student hostels, resumed now after strong protests, amounted to gross violation of human rights. This resort to such levels of brutality and repression against the university community by the Vice-chancellor, Podile Appa Rao, and his administration violates all principles of democratic governance of public institutions. He has lost all moral authority to continue as the administrative head of the University.
The University of Hyderabad in recent times has witnessed the authority-led ostracizing of dalit students, at the behest of some Central Ministers, leading to the unpardonable ‘institutional murder’ of dalit scholar Rohith Vemula. In the wake of nation-wide outrage and strong protests from the university students and teachers, the VC was forced to go on a long leave. There are also serious complaints of anti-dalit atrocities pending against him with the National SC/ST Commission. The surreptitious return of the VC to the University in this situation, with the backing of the Central and State Governments, and their police and military forces, is a pre-planned attempt to disturb the peaceful ethos of the anti-caste struggles ongoing in the University. This also smacks of a plan to deny any justice to the deceased Rohith Vemula.
Over the last few months, the nation has witnessed a disturbing trend of subverting the autonomy of public Universities and Institutions. Based on provocations and escalation of tension in campuses by right-wing student organizations, the government has repeatedly taken to police action directly or forced the administration to clamp down on dissent and critical thinking within campuses. The University of Hyderabad is one such institution in the long list of institutions like FTII, IIT–Madras, JNU, University of Allahabad, Aligarh Muslim University, Fergusson College, Pune witnessing such repression in recent times. In each case, the government and the authorities have exhibited an unpardonable apathy for dialogue with representatives from teachers and students of the institutions.
These developments reflect that the Central Government clearly has no regard for critical thinking within public educational institutions; which AUDFA sees as something necessary and mandatory for the development of a just, inclusive and sensitive Indian society. Rather, the government is actually bent upon destroying the long-standing culture of critical inquiry and questioning, a cherished legacy from the days of our freedom struggle, thus pushing the country towards a regressive discourse filled with bigotry and hatred, brazen appropriation of resources from the vulnerable and further marginalization of the oppressed. The destruction of the best public higher education institutions in the country is a garbed step towards privatization of education under the aegis of international corporate capital. We strongly condemn these attempts of the Central Government to destroy the intellectual sovereignty of the country.
AUDFA expresses solidarity with the ongoing struggle of the students and teachers of the Hyderabad Central University and appeals to maintain restraint against all possible provocations on part of the administration and the police. AUDFA also makes the following demands:

  • Immediate and unconditional release of all arrested students and faculty of the University of Hyderaba
  • Immediate demilitarization of the University of Hyderabad campus and restoration of all regular services for the students
  • Removal from the position of Vice-Chancellor and arrest of Podile Appa Rao
  • Resignation of the HRD Minister, Ms Smriti Irani, owning responsibility for the orchestrated terror on students and teachers in Higher Educational Institutions across the country

AUDFA also pledges commitment to a united nation-wide struggle in defense of autonomy of public educational institutions and against authoritarian and police intervention in campuses.
Gopalji Pradhan Rukmini Sen Arindam Banerjee Secretary President Treasurer

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