Avipsha Sengupta

The University of Hyderabad campus, though not new to political mudslinging between different students’ organizations, was witness to the worst political disturbance in the campus in a long time.

The trigger was in a comment on Facebook, by Nandanan Susheel Kumar, President of ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) on August 3rd, that hurt the sentiments of another major student’s organization on the campus ASA (Ambedkar Student’s Association). The comment read ‘ASA goons talking about hoolganism…Feeling funny’. The comment allegedly was a reaction to the protest staged against ABVP by ASA members earlier that day on the issue of ABVP in Delhi University stalling the screening of a documentary ‘Muzzafarnagar Baaki Hai’ by Nakul Singh Sawhney, on Muzzafarnagar communal riots of 2013.

Later in an interview with Dispatch, a senior ABVP functionary Garikipati Gurajada said, “The comment was not about the protest staged by ASA against us on the DU issue; it was a general comment about ongoing chain of events in the campus.”

However, the comment did not go down well with ASA members and they confronted Susheel Kumar. What followed was a convoluted series of event with each organisation giving drastically conflicting accounts of almost everything.

“There are mechanisms like ‘Proctor Board’ in the University to tackle with disputes like this; the involvement of the outsiders gave everything a communal shade.” – Dontha Prashanth, ASA President

While ASA members claim the issue was settled amicably and they went to Susheel just for discussion, and he was made to write an apology letter for hurting the sentiments of the people associated with ASA in the presence of duty security officer Dilip Singh, ABVP complained of violence by ASA members.

Tension heightened when police came to the campus next morning and took ASA President, Dontha Prashanth, former ASA President Ashok Kumar and Student’s Union President Vincent Benny for questioning and held them in custody for nearly 8 hours at Gachibowli police station.

“All the students’ organizations on the campus keep talking about the Right to Freedom of Speech; I don’t know what happened to the Right to Freedom of Speech of Susheel Kumar.” -Garikapati Gurujada, ABVP Cadre

In the meantime news poured in that Susheel has been admitted to a nearby hospital.

A protest by BJYM and BJP supporters outside main gate and the direct involvement of BJP MLC Ram Chandar Rao into the matter further added to situation.

“The police said that Susheel’s mother has filed a case against us for causing bodily harm to her son and thus we are being taken to the police station for questioning. They completely deceived us and kept us in custody for 8 hours for a fabricated story. We never caused any bodily harm. The chest pain and everything was just a desperate attempt to justify their fabricated story,” said Prasanth.

He alleged that, “Apart from the police deceiving us, the intervention of BJYM and the BJP MLC made the incident far too ugly. There are mechanisms like ‘Proctor Board’ in the University to tackle with disputes like this; the involvement of the outsiders gave everything a communal shade. It also upheld the problem of police interfering with issues of the University and gaining far too much easy access into the campus -a worrying phenomenon.”

On August 4, 2015 a committee was also formed to look into the incident, but the failure to get even the statements of the people in question have already raised questions on the lethargy of the administration.