Why is KCR keeping his distance from Hyderabad Central University?

Photo: Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images

Why is KCR keeping his distance from Hyderabad Central University?

A Saye Sekhar

Play safe

  • TRS is playing it safe over the HCU issue
  • Cong, AIMIM sought resolution over HCU VC
  • But the Telangana CM said he would take it up personally

More in the story

  • Why is TRS playing it safe?
  • Where do the other parties stand?
  • How is civil society dealing with the issue?

Why has the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government been cool to a series of incidents that rocked Hyderabad Central University?

The TRS knows its contours so well that it doesn't want to rub anybody, especially the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre, on the wrong side.

It is not as if Telangana'sintelligence agents haven't briefed Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao about the sordid things happening at one of the most premier schools of higher learning in Hyderabad. Nor that KCR is naive.

If the state government pokes its nose into the HCU issue, there will be far-reaching consequences. The CM kept his distance from the issue ever since it erupted, though his government was in the know of things.

Also read: HCU standoff: students stranded without food. Kanhaiya refused entry

The depth of the seeds of controversy that led to the suicide of research scholar Rohith Vemula is unfathomable now. Too many issues are intertwined with one another vis-a-vis the circumstances that led to the events.

Polictically, TRS has nothing to gain from the espisode. Neither does Rohith hail from Telangana, nor does the HCU vice-chancellor. Both are from Guntur district in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

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File photo

HCU, in fact, doesn't have a sizeable population from Telangana.

Among more than 5,000 students the university has, there could be about 500-600 who are from the state, Prof Lakshminarayana, a former president of the University of Hyderabad Teachers Association, told Catch.

KCR's statement on the floor of the Assembly on Saturday didn't pack his trademark punches at the Opposition. Why?

The CM tried to be politically correct: When the Opposition, including the Congress and the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehaadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), demanded that the Assembly adopt a resolution urging the Centre to recall the Vice-Chancellor, KCR said: "The University doesn't fall under the purview of the state government, though it is geographically located in Hyderabad. It is a central institution. I will personally take the issue up with the Union Government. If necessary, I will speak to the Prime Minister himself."

Also read: NHRC takes up case of Hyderabad Central University

"We should not adopt any resolution, though it isn't impossible. The person in question isn't that big a man where his recall calls for a resolution by the Assembly. I don't think we should belittle ourselves and bring down our stature. When we understand that there was a certain element of discrimination that led to the unsavoury incidents, it is not right on our part to aggravate the situation further," the CM said.

KCR preferred to be tongue-in-cheek over his trademark caustic remarks. He also tried to shield the police, suggesting that he would have the attack on the VC's lodge thoroughly probed, but the police department had become the punching bags irrespective of their role in any incident.

"My information is that when the VC's lodge was ransacked, the police were not in campus. The university security was also clad in khaki. Anyway, let us have it inquired."

The CM absolutely played to the gallery when he said his government facilitated the meeting of Kanhaiya Kumar, the president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union.

On Friday, Asaduddin Owaisi, who represents Hyderabad in Parliament,and Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee President N Utham Kumar Reddy visited Charlpally Central Prison, where 25 students and two teachers have been housed after arrest.

On Saturday, G Haragopal, Chakradhar Rao and other academics who have formed 'Save Education Committee'called on them.

Also read: Most central universities discriminatory: HRD ministry assessment

Meanwhile, an independent national fact-finding (FF) team recommended:
  • HCU Vice-chancellor Appa Rao be suspended, pending the outcome of the investigation
  • the police step up their response in dealing with cases filed
  • free mobility into and out of the university be restored

  • a probe and action against police personnel who "wilfully neglected their duty" under Section 4 of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Amendment Act, 2016
  • the state government facilitate bringing back of normalcy to the campus

  • the Centre replace the VC in close consultation with University students and faculty

The committee included:

  • Henri Tiphagne, Human Rights Defenders Alert, India
  • Tara Rao, Amnesty International
  • Burnard Fatima, International Movement against all forms of Discrimination and Racism

  • Kuffir Nalgundwar, Round Table India
  • Kiruba Munusamy, Supreme Court advocate

  • Beena Pallical, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights
  • Ramesh Nathan, National Dalit Movement for Justice

  • Asha Kotwal, All-India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch
  • Paul Divakar, Asia Dalit Rights Forum

Edited by Joyjeet Das

Also read: Open letter: University of Hyderabad alumni slam varsity shutdown, police brutality on students

A Saye Sekhar