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Telangana

Protests and violence erupt in Osmania University after Vice Chancellor refuses Rahul Gandhi permission to visit and interact with students on the campus

Published : May 02, 2022 21:22 IST T+T-
Telangana Mahila Congress chief Sunita Rao along with party workers protesting against the arrest of NSUI leaders and Osmania University’s refusal to give permission to Rahul Gandhi to interact with students on the campus, on May 2 in Hyderabad.

Telangana Mahila Congress chief Sunita Rao along with party workers protesting against the arrest of NSUI leaders and Osmania University’s refusal to give permission to Rahul Gandhi to interact with students on the campus, on May 2 in Hyderabad.

Protests, vandalism and arrests are threatening to overshadow former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Telangana on May 7.

Protests, vandalism and arrests are threatening to overshadow former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Telangana on May 7.

Rahul Gandhi’s visit turned controversial after Osmania University refused to allow him to visit and interact with students on the campus. Members of the National Students Union of India (NSUI), led by its State president Venkat Balmoor, stormed into the Osmania University administrative building on May 1 and attempted to break into the padlocked offices of the University’s Vice Chancellor.

The protesting students alleged that the Vice Chancellor was acting at the behest of the Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, broke the glass panes of the Vice Chancellor’s office and raised slogans against him. Eighteen students, including Venkat Balmoor, were arrested by the police and charged under various sections of the law, including unlawful assembly, assault, rioting, trespass and preventing public servants from discharging their duties. They were produced before a magistrate, who sent them to 14 days of judicial custody.

On May 2, Congress workers and student groups aligned with the Congress party expressed their displeasure for the second consecutive day. Apprehending a repeat of the previous day’s troubles, the police arrested the leaders of the Osmania University Joint Action Committee (OUJAC) when they attempted to stage a protest in front of the University’s Arts College.

The Congress demanded that Rahul Gandhi be allowed to visit the campus to interact with the students and contested the University’s stand that it does not permit public meetings on the campus. It said that Rahul Gandhi’s visit was not a public or political meeting.

Jagga Reddy of the Congress, who had sought permission from the Osmania University authorities for Rahul Gandhi’s visit, was also detained by the police. Congress leaders told Frontline that Rahul Gandhi had plans to visit only the University’s hostel and mess and interact with the students, as he has been doing with students in various part of the country.

Several Congress leaders in Telangana have criticised the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government and the University’s double standards. The Congress has asked how the university authorities could deny Rahul Gandhi permission when several leaders of both the TRS and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have visited the university campus to address students.