Hyderabad’s Osmania University may not be able to host the Indian Science Congress from January 3 to 7, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. It is the largest annual gathering of Indian scientists.
This is the first time that the event has been postponed in its history of more than 100 years, the report said. The university reportedly said that it would not be able to host the event due to “disturbances on its campus and other reasons”.
“Only Tuesday night, the vice chancellor of Osmania University informed us that it would not be possible to host the Science Congress on the scheduled dates because of disturbances on the campus…One student has committed suicide and there are some other reasons as well,” Professor Gangadhar, General Secretary of the Association, told The Indian Express. “The news has come as a shock for us. It has never happened earlier.”
However, university Vice Chancellor S Ramachandran told the daily that he did not know of the postponement as nothing has been confirmed yet.
Tempers have been high among the university’s students since 21-year-old student, Eramaina Murali, was found dead in his hostel’s bathroom on December 3. In a suicide note, he reportedly said he was taking the step because he was not prepared for the upcoming examinations. However, some students alleged that the handwriting in the note did not match Murali’s, and that he was depressed and took the step because of anger over the lack of jobs in Telangana.
Security officials, who had on Tuesday inspected parts of the university that was supposed to hold the Congress, reportedly anticipate protests from students against its attendees Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
Though Ramachandran declined to comment on an alternative location, sources said the university officials were considering the Hyderabad International Trade Expositions, where the Global Entrepreneurship Summit was held recently.
“The Osmania University, which was established in 1917, is celebrating the centenary year and if the prestigious Science Congress is held outside the campus, it would be not only an insult but also draw a tremendous amount of criticism,” an official said. “So nothing is decided yet.”