HYDERABAD: Even as the arrest of the two former University of Hyderabad students, who allegedly hatched a plot to assassinate UoH vice chancellor Podile Appa Rao has taken the campus by storm, the State Intelligence wing and the local police —which normally keep an eye on university politics —has already stepped up vigil on the activities of certain students and groups who support a ‘particular’ ideology in the aftermath of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide which triggered massive protests not only in the campus but across the country.
The heightened vigil, sources said, which is still in place due to the increasing student politics within the campus, especially after the Rohith Vemula episode, was to ensure that students restrict themselves to university politics and don’t cross the line.“In the normal course, we do keep an eye on the activities in the campus. But following Rohith’s death and the massive protests that followed, we had to step up vigil on certain students and groups. Since there was a threat to the life of the University VC, we had to take adequate measures to ensure that peace prevails on the campus. It is this increased surveillance that led to the arrest of the two students who were out to kill the VC,’’ top police sources told Express.
The arrested duo —Ankala Prudviraj (27) and Chandan Kumar Mishra (28)— were reportedly returning from Bastar forests after meeting Yapa Narayana alias Haribhushan, the secretary of Telangana State Committee of CPI (Maoist), when they were nabbed. Back in their university days, according to police, Prudviraj was a member of Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika whereas Mishra was a member of Telangana Praja Front and SFI. He had decided to join the Maoist party due to some incidents on the UOH campus, claim the police.
‘Emotional quotient a driving force’
Though the arrest of the two accused has led to a suspicion that students are being lured into Left Wing Extremism, Cyberabad police Commissioner VC Sajjanar chose to downplay the arrests. “The accused were under watch and one of them was previously arrested by the Khammam police. But we don’t think they were able to recruit anyone from the campus,” Sajjanar, who previously worked as the chief of Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB), said.
Stating that the campus is peaceful and devoid of anti-national activities, the commissioner said there could be open activities but not anything like recruitment. “At present, things are peaceful at the varsity. The VC continues to have a gunman. We know there is threat. We will re-assess his threat perception and take steps,” Cyberabad police chief said.
Though the East Godavari police said that the task to kill the VC was to avenge the suicide of Vemula and help Maoist party get some fresh recruits, Sajjanar differed, saying: “Thing is that people are not able to sustain there in forests. They (youngsters) don’t have any ideology and the bent of mind to go stay in forest for long is not there.” However, a senior police officer, who did not wish to be quoted, said that it is more of emotional quotient that drives the youngsters to join left wing extremism.
Appa Rao seeks enhanced security
Meanwhile, VC Podile Appa Rao is learnt to have met with senior officials of Cyberabad Police and sought enhanced security for himself in view of the arrests. It was in January 2016 that the university campus had catapulted into national attention after the suicide of Rohith Vemula. The campus had also witnessed months long protests and shutdown when students demanded the arrest and removal of the vice chancellor. At one instance, students had, on March 22, 2016, vandalised the VC’s bungalow on the campus and as many as 27 students and two faculty members were arrested and remanded. The VC was initially given a platoon of policemen for security which was later withdrawn leaving behind a gunman on guard.