Jai Bhim vs. Jai Shri Ram: Understanding the Rising Tensions in Hyderabad University Campus

On April 17th, a group of students allegedly incited violence in the campus hostel, injuring four. They were swiftly hospitalized, prompting police intervention and an investigation.
Hyderabad Central University (HCU)
Hyderabad Central University (HCU)

New Delhi- At the Hyderabad Central University (UoH), a recent clash between student factions has drawn attention to longstanding tensions within the campus community. The altercation erupted following the student union elections, which intensified existing rivalries between two distinct groups.

The confrontation reached a critical point late night on April 17th when a group of students allegedly instigated violence within the campus hostel area, employing weapons like sticks and blades during the altercation.

This resulted in injuries to four individuals, who were promptly taken to the university hospital before being transferred to a private facility for further treatment. In response, the Gachibowli police intervened to disperse the crowd and initiated an investigation into the incident.

The clashes between student activists associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Students' Federation of India (SFI) have been ongoing, with tensions reaching a crescendo at a farewell event.

Disagreements over the playing of communal songs during farewell celebrations of Economics department sparked initial discord, which later escalated into physical altercations. Matters worsened when armed individuals reportedly launched indiscriminate attacks on hostel residents, exacerbating an already volatile situation.

This sentiment was echoed by the Ambedkar Student’s Association (ASA). Hritik Lalan, General Secretary of ASA, told The Mooknayak that the clash originated on that day as the ABVP deliberately played communal songs. Multiple students objected to it, causing tensions to soar.

The official statement released by ASA explained the situation in details. It stated, "On 17th April, the ABVP mob charged aggressively at a few SFI members. The ABVP cadre barged into the rooms of a few students, deliberately instigating an argument."

"The violence escalated all the more when ABVP cadres along with their leaders started brutally thrashing students in the hostel lawn. Further, by charging at women and young integrated students, The RSS' student wing stooped to a new low."

When the Students Union attempted to intervene and calm the situation, the President of HCUSU was also subjected to physical assault. The association also alleged that a number of them have a history of perpetrating violence and harassment against marginalized students.

The student union of University of Hyderabad (HCUSU) has condemned the incident and alleged the administration's complicity in shielding the perpetrators.

Union stated, "We appeal to the student community to reject the ABVP's violent politics and maintain the peaceful and vibrant academic atmosphere of the University of Hyderabad."

Photos of the injured released by HCUSU
Photos of the injured released by HCUSU
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Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, the UoH administration swiftly formed a four-member committee tasked with conducting a thorough examination of the events. Led by Prof. Ashwini Nangia, the committee includes members from diverse academic backgrounds and is charged with investigating all facets of the clash.

Their mandate involves engaging with students and presenting a comprehensive report outlining potential measures the university can take to address the underlying issues.

However, according to Kripa Maria George, Secretary of Hyderabad University’s SFI chapter, the committee is “biased,” and they have called for the formation of a new one.

She further stated that there has been a significant police presence around the campus owing to the clash.

When The Mooknayak contacted the student leader, her voice and the background noise revealed the tense situation on campus. SFI had organized a demonstration against the physical assault, and upon seeing them, ABVP retaliated by holding a counter-protest in the afternoon of 19th April.

The loud chant of ‘Jai Bhim’ attempted to drown out the chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ coming from the ABVP protestors.

A similar clash ensued at Jawaharlal Nehru University last month, where several students were injured in a confrontation between members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Left-backed groups.

The altercation reportedly began over disputes regarding the selection of election committee members at the School of Languages. The situation escalated into violence during school-level general body meetings for the selection of election committee members conducted by the JNU Student Union (JNUSU).

In a viral video clip of the incident, a man was seen thrashing students with a stick, while another showed a person throwing a bicycle at students. Other videos depicted individuals being mobbed and beaten by a group, as university security personnel attempted to intervene.

ABVP stated that the two students seen in one of the videos were members of its JNU unit, claiming that they were acting in self-defense.

Meanwhile, Left-backed groups alleged that ABVP members, dissatisfied with the selection of election committee members, had assaulted JNUSU office bearers and other students.

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