Hyderabad: On 10 October, the students of the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) came to know that the Cyberabad police registered an FIR against 14 students of the university for taking part in protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) on 21 February.
These 14 students are part of the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) Coordination Committee, a student collective formed by various progressive student groups and associations at the HCU, to resist the 'unconstitutional and communal citizenship laws'.
Due to the lockdown, most of the students named in the FIR are at home. Pallikonda Manikanta, a student from the coordination committee received a summons copy on 10 October and so did the other students in Kerala, Kashmir, Telangana, Bihar and Delhi on subsequent days.
The student group alleged that the university administration revealed the home addresses of the students without informing them. “The university deserves strong condemnation,” said the coordination committee in a statement.
On 11 October, The Wire, a news portal, published an article about the FIR against these students, in which DCP of Madhapur alleged that, “The students are planning to take out another march again soon.”
The student dismissing the DCP’s statement said that, “This is an outright lie and the DCP might be misinformed or trying to mislead the press. Almost all students are at home after the university was forced to shut in view of the Coronavirus lockdown since 15 March and there are barely any students from the coordination committee on the campus. Also, some of the students have completed their degrees and have no plans to visit Hyderabad in the near future. So this allegation by the DCP holds no value,” said the statement.
The DCP has alleged that we came out on the road, obstructed traffic and inconvenienced the public. He has also made some glaringly false and concocted charges against us by stating that he was a witness to what happened. He has alleged that we obstructed the road, closed the doors of MANUU, and disallowed the employees to enter the campus, the statement said.
“We outright deny these allegations as they are far from reality and could be termed as misleading at best. If at all we had done something of that nature, the DCP was well within his rights to detain/arrest us at the time of the protest. Also, the timing of the protest was such that the employees must have left the campus. So the claim of employees entering the campus at 6:15 pm and we disallowing them doesn't make any sense at all,” the statement said.
“We challenge the DCP to produce video footage or any other proof of us doing what he has alleged in the FIR,” the statement added.
As per the police version of the events, SI of Raidurgam police station, Muraleedhar, has filed a complaint against the UoH students on 21 February. “About 20-30 students of the central university illegally gathered at a Coffee Day shop and led a rally from there to MANUU carrying placards and raising slogans against the Central government. They also tried to disturb the peaceful atmosphere on the campus through their speeches,” said Muraleedher in his complaint.
The student group said that their protest was disciplined and peaceful and all the students of HCU were spectacularly welcomed at MANUU by their students' union members, other students and security staff alike and nothing that was alleged by the DCP of Madhapur happened during that time.
“We unequivocally reject the baseless and malicious allegations levelled by ther Hyderabad police in the FIR against the members of HCU Coordination Committee and we pledge to continue our fight against the undemocratic CAA-NRC with more vigour,” said the student group.
The police also alleged that the students did not take permission for the rally, either from MANUU or from the police.
In the FIR, the police named Saurabh Kumar, Hadif Nisar, Ashiqurrasool Ismail, Thahir Jamal, Manikanta, Amal Jose, Akash Rathore, Sneha George, Bhaskar Sarkar, Ananthu Rajagopal, Mansi Chowdhary, Jiyad, Akram, Sonal and others, all students of UoH, in the FIR.