Protests erupted at the Osmania University in Hyderabad after the administration refused to grant permission for a “non-political” event that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was slated to attend, NDTV reported on Monday.
Gandhi was scheduled to visit the campus on May 7 to meet the students. However, university authorities refused permission for the visit, saying that no political activity was allowed on the campus.
The university cited a resolution from 2017 that stated that non-academic activities, including political ones, would not be allowed there.
On Friday, K Manavatha Roy, a research scholar at Osmania University’s Arts College, and three other students filed a petition in the Telangana High Court seeking a directive to authorities to allow the event, according to the Decccan Herald. Roy, along with five other students, also wrote to the university registrar seeking permission for Gandhi’s visit.
Youth Congress leaders and supporters on Saturday held protests outside the Arts College, The Indian Express reported. Party leaders said that they had sought permission on April 23, and had said that the event would be a non-political one.
On the other hand, activists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi Vidyarthi Vibhagam took part in demonstrations supporting the university’s decision.
G Vinod Kumar, the dean of the Postgraduate College of Law at the university, expressed his support for the Congress leader’s visit. He said that leaders from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Bharatiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India, and Communist Party of India (Marxist) had visited the campus earlier, so preventing a Congress leader’s visit was wrong.
“He [Gandhi] will talk about what is happening in Telangana and why social justice is being denied,” Kumar said. “That is an intellectual discourse, so what is wrong if he shares his views?”
Congress MLA Jagga Reddy alleged that the Telangana government was putting pressure on the university to stop Gandhi’s visit. “OU has always been known for student movements, including the Telangana agitation,” he said, according to The Indian Express. “We clarified that our leader’s visit is non-political but they made up their mind about not allowing it.”