HYDERABAD: The Independent National Fact Finding Team, which is probing to ascertain and understand the sequence of events that led to escalation of violence on Tuesday at University of Hyderabad (UoH) here on Saturday said that the “unexpected” re-entry of Vice-Chancellor P Appa Rao was “pre-planned” and that he acted against the suggestion of Home Minister of Telangana and Police Commissioner of Cyberabad, creating distress in the university.
Speaking to the media at the interim release of the fact-finding report, Paul Divakar, a member of the fact-finding team and Asia Dalit Rights forum, said, “The return of V-C, who had proceeded on indefinite leave triggered the disruption of peace on campus. According to Home Minister, VC Appa Rao expressed his desire to the minister to return to the campus and was strongly advised against it, both by the Home Minister and police commissioner saying that it would cause disruption in the university. However, he went against their advice and created unrest in the campus.”
“When the university is functioning peacefully in his absence, what was the need to return to UoH all of a sudden and on whose orders did he do that?” questioned the team.
Talking about police lathicharge on students, Asha Kowtal of All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, who is also part of this team said, “What kind of country treats its students like this? Students were chased and lathicharged, police uses blades and abusive language. A person accused of a crime under the SC/ST PoA assumes public office and the students are deprived of food, water and basic facilities and live under siege with constant threats. Is this the real face of shining India?”
Recommendations of the committee
- To enable fair investigation, V-C Appa Rao should be suspended till the investigation is completed
- To improve academic health of the UoH, free mobility in and out of the university should be restored immediately
- A criminal investigation should be immediately conducted and action should be taken against the cops who have willfully neglected their duty under section 4 of the SC ST PoA Amendment Act 2016
- Recommendation to the state government to play a facilitating role in bringing normalcy back to campus
- The Central government must swiftly and efficiently ensure a smooth transition of the leadership of the UoH in the best interest of the primary objective of the University of Academic Excellence by replacing the V-C in close consultation with the students and faculty