The Osmania University refused permission to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for a meeting with its students and while the national party was outraged, its cadres staged a protest on Monday decrying the decision and the arrest of their colleagues in this connection.
The Congress party slammed Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and claimed that his pressure tactics resulted in the varsity’s denial of permission.
On the denial of permission, a university official told PTI that it was due to various reasons, including the university’s executive council passing a resolution last year not to allow any political activity on the campus.
Also, election of some employees unions have been scheduled, examinations for certain courses were underway and a section of students are also preparing for recruitment tests recently announced by the state government, the varsity official said.
Following the university’s refusal of permission to the Congress leader to hold an interactive session with students on May 7, the party’s students’ wing (National Students Union of India-NSUI) held a protest in Hyderabad on Sunday and at least 18 protesters were arrested.
Telangana Congress president and MP, A. Revanth Reddy said Rahul Gandhi plans meeting arrested NSUI leaders on May 7 and lodged at the Chanchalguda jail here to speak to them on issues faced by students.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao ‘pressured’ the university authorities to deny permission to Rahul Gandhi’s meeting, Revanth Reddy alleged. Earlier, the state Congress chief visited the NSUI leaders at the prison.
The state Congress president said a letter has been submitted to the jail superintendent seeking permission for Rahul Gandhi to meet the arrested NSUI leaders.
On Rahul Gandhi’s proposal to meet students, the Congress leader said an interaction was planned with students to understand their concerns and other relevant issues for the betterment of both students and the varsity as well and for raising such issues in the Parliament.
The OU, which was a hub of separate Telangana agitation by the students years ago, was the alma mater of late PV Narasimha Rao, M. Chenna Reddy, S. Jaipal Reddy and several other veteran leaders, he said.
Meanwhile, activists of NSUI, held a protest on Monday in the OU campus over denial of permission to Rahul Gandhi’s meeting and the arrest of NSUI leaders on May 1.
The protesting NSUI members, who raised slogans against the TRS government and the university authorities, were taken away by the police.
Further, the varsity official said that considering the executive council resolution, no political activity has been allowed in the campus during the last one year, he pointed out.
Congress party shared with media a letter written by OU registrar to Koturi Manavatha Roy who was one of the applicants for Gandhi’s meeting in the campus saying it is not feasible for the university to accord permission for the meeting.
Enraged over the denial of permission, a group of activists of NSUI allegedly pelted stones at the main door of the varsity’s administrative building on Sunday after which at least 18 of them were arrested by police.
Similarly, police also took few NSUI activists into custody after they attempted to lay siege to the Ministers’ Quarters here on Sunday protesting against denial of permission by the university administration.