NHRC notices to Centre, Telangana over Hyderabad varsity turmoil

Taking notice of media reports that there is an 'emergency-like'' situation in Hyderabad University, the National Human Rights Commission on Friday issued notices to the union ministry of human resource development, the Telangana government and the Hyderabad Police Commissioner seeking reports from them within a week.

The NHRC acted on news reports that there is no water, electricity, food, internet services or working ATMs within the campus.

"The Commission has observed that the arbitrary act and high handedness of senior university officials as well as police and administrative officers, as reported in media, raise serious concerns towards safety and security of the students," a NHRC release said.

On 23 March, the office of university vice chancellor Appa Rao Podile was vandalised by group of students after which several arrests were made. The university authorities also prevented Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union president Kanhaiya Kumar from entering the campus to address the students agitating over the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula.

Vemula's mother had on Friday demanded immediate unconditional release of the 25 arrested students and two faculty members of Hyderabad Central University. "We demand immediate and unconditional release of all those who were arrested and sent to jail, and withdrawal of cases against them. They (students) were asking for justice for Rohith (during the protest near VC's lodge) ... but were beaten up brutally by police," Rohith's mother Radhika and brother Raja, along with HCU teachers and parents of some of the arrested students, told reporters.

Earlier, a five-member delegation led by JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid met with HRD ministry secretary V S Oberoi and submitted their demands for the removal of police presence from the campus, the dropping of ''false'' charges against students and the removal of Appa Rao from the post of vice chancellor of the university.

"The official told us that the ministry cannot do anything about removal of the VC as it comes under the purview of the Visitor. He also said that they can't intervene on the issue of police presence as interventions are not being taken in a good manner," she said.

Tensions have been mounting in the campus ever since the death of Rohith Vemula, 26, who hanged himself in Hyderabad Central University campus after he was suspended from his hostel in August last year for allegedly attacking an ABVP leader.