Break the silence on state and police repression on UoH students
We are writing to you in deep disappointment and anger at the kind of silence that progressive teachers and students of Hyderabad have been maintaining in the face of the police brutality and repression that students and teachers of UoH have been facing since Tuesday. It has been three days that they have been arrested and were brutalized by the police in public view. We have seen and heard of these narratives. HCU administration stopped the functioning of the mess, cut off water supply, and internet connection. A fresh set of FIRs have been registered against a new set of students, of which 5 are women. All over the social media, there are videos of women being attacked by the police, of women students recollecting how the police threatened them of rape, touched them inappropriately and grabbed and kicked their private parts.Today we have received news of how they were beaten up and tortured not just in the police van to the station, but in fact at every police station and during every transit.
Here it is for you to read:
“the arrested students and faculty were in fact beaten brutally, not only in the police van right after being detained, but also in the police stations and during subsequent transportation in police vehicles. In the police van, students were punched, with fists and with elbows. Policemen stood on the seats and jumped upon the students from a height. They hit students on the head while immobilizing them and slammed their fingers against edges of the seats. Faculty who tried to intervene were punched and slapped, while being abused as teachers training students to be as “anti national”. One student, Prasanna, was playing cricket, when he saw a group of students running from the police. He started taking photos and was dragged into the police van. Several students’ phones were stolen by police when they were filming the police brutality. Muslim students were especially targeted for brutality by the police; many of them were asked for their names before being picked up from the Humanities department and shoved into the vans. They were abused constantly in the van while being especially brutally beaten and were called Anti-nationals, Pakistanis, drug peddlers, naxalites etc. They were being forced to agree to these accusations and forced to sign documents, in which they always signed and wrote underneath “by force”.”
Many have been in complete awe of how the entire nation, the progressive teaching community and activists stood up for JNU and fought for three students who were arrested on charges of sedition. Why are we not seeing the same kind of support and solidarity for the Dalit, Bahujan and minority students who are being persecuted today? Why has not a single solidarity statement come from the progressive teaching community, and this when two of the arrested are teachers themselves? All the arrested students and teachers have supported us during our times of crisis and today we are staying silent.
We still have very little idea about the kind of conditions the arrested are being forced to undergo. If we do not make our position and solidarity public, the state and the police will continue to brutalize unopposed and students and teachers will continue to rot in jail without bail.
HCU students have been closed off to any kind of outside support, whether legal support or from activists or from political parties. Media has been maintaining a deliberate and motivated silence. Historically, we have seen how important the teacher’s role has been in any kind of movement, not only in terms of producing knowledge, but in standing and speaking for students and all those who are oppressed and marginalized. And we have seen from the JNU example, how important the teachers’ participation can be in mobilizing the civil society and the community of intellectuals and teachers and in providing a sense of support to a student community, whose spirit is being violently broken. We request all the supporters of the struggle for Justice for Rohith to raise their voice about the cruel and inhumane torture of students, faculty and media people. We urge you to mobilise your available resources and support the movement and bring it to the mainstream.
Joint Action Committee for Social Justice for Rohit Vemula-EFL University
Joint Action Committee for Social Justice for Rohit Vemula-Osmania University
Joint Action Committee for Social Justice for Rohit Vemula- Telugu University
Joint Action Committee for Social Justice for Rohit Vemula- Maula Azaad Urdu University
Joint Action Committee for Social Justice for Rohit Vemula- Nalsar University