Hyderabad: While Hyderabad Central University (HCU) on Saturday maintained that there was no violation of human rights of students who are opposing the resumption of duty by vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile, Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao said he would take up the entire issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Activists of the Progressive Democratic Students Union (PDSU) on Saturday held a protest in front of HCU demanding the immediate arrest and removal of vice-chancellor Podile over the death of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula.

The security personnel at HCU, however, foiled the attempts of PDSU activists to force their way inside the campus by stopping them at the main gate itself, the university’s chief security officer T.V. Rao said. The PDSU activists later held a demonstration and squatted on the road raising slogans demanding the arrest of Appa Rao and his removal from the vice-chancellor’s post.

They also demanded the immediate release of 25 students and two faculty members arrested in connection with the alleged vandalization of the vice-chancellor’s lodge and stone pelting on 22 March. Their bail plea will come up for hearing on Monday.

HCU registrar M. Sudhakar in his report to the APSHRC (Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission) on Saturday termed the complaint against the vice-chancellor as false. None of the hostels were closed and not a single student was evicted from the hostels, he said.

As to the incidents of 22 March, a note issued by HCU said that when Podile was holding a meeting with members of the executive council at his official residence, a mob vandalized the personal property of the vice-chancellor and that of the university, besides roughing up the security staff.

“But for the timely intervention of students of Life Sciences and some non-teaching staff, who formed a protective security cordon, the Vice Chancellor and other faculty members would have been brutally assaulted," the note said.

The students are opposed to resumption of duty by Podile, whom they hold responsible, along with others, for the suicide of Vemula.

The issue also rocked the Telangana assembly, with the opposition Congress seeking a debate. MIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi said the assembly should pass a resolution seeking Podile’s recall, but chief minister Rao said it may not be appropriate as the HCU comes under the central jurisdiction.

Rao, however, assured the house that he would take up the issue, including the demand to recall the vice-chancellor, with Prime Minister Modi.

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