The Central Executive Committee of SFI strongly condemns the disciplinary action taken against 11 students by the administration in English and Foreign LanguagesUniversity, EFLU, Hyderabad over their participation in a democratically staged protest in the campus demanding students’ union elections and voicing against a show cause notice issued to a student for a Facebook post. It has to be noted with deep concern that such highly undemocratic and regressive moves are undertaken even in the premier educational institutions in the country like EFLU. It is clear beyond the shadow of any doubt that the action against the students of EFLU is one of the attempts of the administration to silence the student community of EFLU from coming forward in big numbers with the demand for campus democracy.
The students of EFLU staged a protest on October 15 over the questions of their democratic rights. Democratically conducted students’ union election had been a major demand of the student community of EFLU for a long time. The VC and administration were continuously avoiding the students even after their repeated approaches at different occasions. Instead of protecting at least the constitutionally assured rights of the students, the administration has been showing more enthusiasm to oppress them further time and again. The October 15 protest was also against the unacceptable show cause notice served to a student for voicing his opinion about the SwachhEFLU program on Facebook, along with their long standing demand for students’ body elections.
The well participated protest was entirely peacefully and did not disrupt any academic or administrative functioning of the university. Even though the administration was forced to declare students union elections after this protest, twelve more students received show cause notices alleging utter lies such as inciting violence on campus and being involved in anti-university activities. Followed this disciplinary actions were taken against eleven students including the unit secretary of SFI Com. Sarath MV and Joint Secretary Com. Vidya Sukumaran which ranged from reprimands to suspension from the hostel and cancellation of Ph.D fellowships from three to six months. Muhammed P. (Ph.D Cultural Studies), Rose Sebastian (Ph.D Cultural Studies), Vishnu V (Ph.D Film Studies), Arjab Roy (Ph.D Indian and World Literature), Abdul Jabbar (MA MCJ), Saheer V.P (MA MCJ) Sreejith P.S (MA English) and V.Parameeswaran (All three are SFI executive committee members), Geo CirilPodippara (M.AEnglish) are the other students served with disciplinary actions that varied according to their alleged "degree of involvement" in the protest. These students were denied even the chance to speak their version before the committee which took action. The actions like stopping the fellowships of researchers provided by UGC exposes the feudal mind set of the VC and administration that treat the university as their Jagir. These show causes were issued on 5th November just after the notification for the elections were issued. All these students have been barred from participating and contesting in elections too.
It is not the first time that such news is coming from EFLU. There were various incidents of launching war on dissenting and debating students by the university administration in recent past itself. The developments in English and Foreign Languages University are undoubtedly a matter of shame to a civilized society. Universities are not spaces to silently listen the lectures and mug up information. Campuses must be upholding the high values of democracy and promoting democratic platforms. The Central Executive Committee of SFI salutes all the students who are bravely fighting the autocratic EFLU administration and we stand in full solidarity with them. SFI demand that the disciplinary action should be withdrawn immediately and unconditionally. We request all the democratic sections to rise up against the EFLU Administration’s move to curtail the rights of the students.
Dr. V Sivadasan Ritabrata Banerjee MP
President General Secretary