‘Hyderabad varsity students, faculty beaten up in police custody’

Hyderabad: An umbrella organisation of student groups at Hyderabad Central University has alleged that students arrested on the campus on March 22 were beaten up in police custody.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Social Justice, which comprises 14 student groups, has condemned the ‘heinous, brutal, and communally violent’ treatment of the 24 students, two faculty members and one media person.

In a statement on Friday, it alleged that they were beaten up in police custody after being picked up from the campus when they were staging a protest over return of P. Appa Rao as the vice chancellor.

It said the police resorted to criminal action in this case by assaulting the arrested in the police vehicles and later in police stations. They were also mentally tortured by constantly moving them from one police station to other.

It claimed that those arrested were not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of their detention. The group was remanded only late in the evening of March 23.

The group was also beaten up in the police van while being shifted to Cherlapally Jail in the early hours of March 24.

A city court on March 24 adjourned hearing on the bail petitions of the students to March 28.

JAC said no official information on the whereabouts of the arrested people was provided by the police to their family or friends. “Family members who called police stations were either refused information, or given misleading information,” the statement said.

The faculty members who tried to intervene when policemen were beating up students in police vehicles, were punched and slapped and abused for teaching aanti-nationals’.

“Muslim students were especially targeted and were branded ‘anti-nationals’, Pakistanis, drug peddlers and naxalites,” it said.

The arrests were made on the campus when students were staging a sit-in to protest Appa Rao resuming charge as vice chancellor after nearly two month long leave.

Appa Rao had gone on leave in January after he was named in the First Information Report (FIR) lodged after the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula.