meted out to students of the University of Hyderabad protesting against the return of Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile came in for condemnation from alumni of the institution – 264 of them signed an open letter expressing solidarity with the movement demanding justice for Rohith Vemula, the Dalit PhD scholar who committed suicide on January 17. The letter also appealed to all citizens to continue to question the influence of caste in institutes and the government’s apathy towards holding the university administration accountable for Vemula's death.

The alumni also demanded the immediate release of students and faculty members who were taken into custody on March 22, the day Podile returned to campus following a two-month sabbatical. They called his return “highly inappropriate”, given the non-bailable charge registered against him under the SC/ST Atrocities Act and the pending judicial inquiry into the matter. “We stand with the students and faculty around the country in universities like UoH, JNU, FTII, DU, IIT Madras, University of Allahabad and numerous others that are fighting to uphold the freedoms that are guaranteed by our constitution,” they added in the letter.

Earlier, protesting students at the university, who had no electricity or access to WiFi, mobilised support in any way they could through social media. The situation on campus continued to be tense following the return of the vice chancellor, who was implicated in Vemula's suicide. Some students said food and water supplies were restored on campus in the morning, claiming the administration was threatened that cases of human rights violation would be filed against them for cutting off access to these amenities. However, this has yet to be confirmed. Students had appealed to the media through their various Facebook posts to report on the situation inside the university. They had also used the Internet on their phones to call for help and request for supplies such as food and water for those stuck inside the university.

Many have complained of harassment and manhandling by the police, who also clamped down on students who had taken to cooking their own food in the college premises after the hostel messes were allegedly shut down by authorities. A 29-year-old PhD student, Uday Bhanu, was allegedly beaten up by the police for insisting with cooking on the main university road. At the same time, students continued to complain that the media had been misreporting facts or blacking out the story completely, while circulating a set of documents that purportedly showed how Podile’s return to the campus was carefully calibrated.