‘Chalo EFLU’ in support of Dalitbahujans

On 12 May, students of Osmania University and the University of Hyderabad responded to the ‘Chalo EFLU’ call and marched to the EFLU campus. They demanded that the university withdraw the suspension of the three students and that the EFLU Vice-Chancellor Sunaina Kumar step down

It wasn’t long ago that Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL) was declared a central
university and renamed as the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU). Until then, its premises on the Osmania University campus used to be relatively quiet, as students remained engrossed in their books and research. The few students there had very little interaction even with Osmania University, let alone the outside world. Overnight, things changed. The small institute was forced to step outside its cocoon. There were suddenly more students, from all backgrounds, including OBCs, SCs and STs, while the campus and the facilities almost remained unchanged. Even the new projects to help accommodate the extra students were mired in allegations of corruption. The distrust between the students and the administration grew. While student politics flourished given these circumstances, with the students from the lower castes taking the lead, the administration that was used to an elitist, trouble- free atmosphere, viewed it with scorn and
attempted to stifle it.

In March, the latest in a series of stand-offs began when the reading room in the library ceased to be a 24-hour facility. The students protested for about a week but the authorities didn’t seem to care. Then, on the ninth day, when the students reached the library to occupy it, they found that it was closed, and when they tried to force their way in, one of the glass doors broke. The administration ignored due procedure to charge three students with damaging university property, and announced their long-term suspension in April. The students’ union claims the administration has no witnesses or any other evidence to charge these students. The library officials have submitted written statements saying they couldn’t identify the students who broke the door.

It seems to be no coincidence then that the three students had always been outspoken against the highhandedness of the administration and its alleged corrupt dealings. It also seems to be no coincidence that all three are Dalitbahujan students: Mohan Dharavath, Satish Nainala and Subhash Kumar. Hyderabad’s university students and Dalitbahujans have condemned their suspension, and on 12 May, students of Osmania University and the University of Hyderabad responded to the ‘Chalo EFLU’ call and marched to the EFLU campus. They demanded that the university withdraw the suspension of the three students and that the EFLU Vice-Chancellor Sunaina Kumar step down. Many educationists and social activists, including Chukka Ramaiah, M. Veda Kumar, Vimalakka, V. Sandhya and P.L. Vishweshwar Rao, were among the protesters. On reaching the EFLU campus, the students installed a statue of B.R. Ambedkar there. Finally, the student’s forum plans to organise a Maha Dharna on 19 May at the campus.

 

Published in the June 2014 issue of the Forward Press magazine


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