Jail in better condition than campus say Hyderabad Central University faculty

Hyderabad,ARADHNA WAL: Faculty members of Hyderabad Central University who visited their students and colleagues under arrest came away saying “the jail is better than the campus, as there is food and water.”

Twenty five students and two professors are in jail in Hyderabad on charges such as rioting, voluntarily causing hurt, arrested after the campus protested the return of vice-chancellor Podile Apparao. The protest was brutally cracked down on by the police as they lathi charged students and teachers, and the administration shut off access to food, water, electricity, WiFi and ATMs for two days.

Karthik Bittu Kondaiah, one of the faculty members who visited the students told dna that all 27 are “safer in their cells, as they had been beaten in the police vans and in the station. They’re holding classes and debates among themselves.”
He added that most of the students arrested on charges of rioting are not even politically engaged ones, they had been bystanders filming the police lathicharge on campus. Similarly, an independent filmmaker Moses Tulasi, who, according to Bittu, has no affiliation with the university, was also picked up when he filmed the protest.
Apparao had been absent from campus till 22 March, as the students held him responsible for the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula that sparked off the nationwide Justice for Rohith movement, and shed light on caste discrimination in higher education. Apparao has a case filed against him under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, for his alleged role in Vemula’s suicide.
HCU administration found itself subject to further ire as Amnesty India issued a statement, Friday, against “the police crackdown on peacefully protesting University of Hyderabad (UoH) students and faculty” and demanded their immediate release. The National Human Rights Commission, too, shot off notices to the Union HRD secretary, Chief Secretary, Telangana, and the Police Commissioner Hyderabad “over reports of emergency like situation” at the university.
Amnesty called for “an independent investigation into allegations of excessive use of force by the police” that occurred when students protested the return of the VC.
Amnesty also took up the allegations of sexual assault of female students at the hands of the police force, most of them men. Their statement quoted an online post by an HCU student Vaikhari Arya, where she describes how “male police brutally grabbed, molested, tossed and beat female students and faculties alike. Female faculties were grabbed by their hair and dragged into vans. Male students were swept inside the van and were beaten without mercy”.
They also quoted the testimony given to Amnesty by another student Akshita Chita, “I was dragged outside from the VC office where I was protesting. Police told us not to behave like prostitutes and threatened us with rape. Most of my friends who were girls were slapped and kicked by male and female police officers.”
The arrested were also visited by AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, who tweeted “met the HCU students & 2 Professor[s] in Jail[.] shocked that police beat them in Police vans while being taken to police station”.
Release them immediately: Rohith’s mother
Radhika Vemula, Rohith’s mother, also spoke to the press in Hyderabad on Friday demanding “immediate and unconditional release of all those who were arrested… and withdrawal of cases against them”. “They were asking for justice for Rohith but were beaten up brutally,”she said, along with faculty members and parents of jailed students.