'Is This Syria Or Pakistan?' Ask Parents Of Arrested Hyderabad Students

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Hyderabad Central University students allegedly held the Vice Chancellor hostage in his office for six hours on Tuesday.


Highlights

  1. 26 students arrested earlier this week at Hyderabad university
  2. Students charged with vandalizing Vice Chancellor's office
  3. Parents say no information on arrests or updates after that
A mother in Kerala breaks down as she talks about her teen son, who was arrested earlier this week, along with 26 others, from his university in Hyderabad.

"We are not (living) in Syria or Pakistan. It is the duty of the police to inform parents about those who've been arrested. No government, university authorities or faculty members got in touch with us," she said to NDTV, asking that neither her name nor her son's be revealed.

The students who were arrested on Tuesday evening allegedly vandalised the office of Vice Chancellor Appa Rao at Hyderabad Central University, where PhD student Rohith Vemula hung himself in January. At least nine of the students now in jail are from Kerala, said sources.

The woman who said she discovered the news of her son's arrest through social media said he finally called her this evening. "He said that all students are together in a hall in the jail and they are getting food and are being allowed to meet student leaders," she said.

She is an exception. Most families we spoke to in Kerala shared the same feedback - that they had not been notified about the arrests, nor been able to talk to their children. Most did not want to be identified for fear of further complicating the students' cases, whose request for bail, along with that of two arrested professors, has been postponed to Monday.

Lawyers for the students claim that they were beaten up by the police while being moved in vans from campus to prison, and that some Muslim students were called "Pakistanis". The police did not comment on those allegations.

On Tuesday, more than 100 students allegedly held the Vice Chancellor hostage in his office for six hours; some of them damaged property. It was the Vice Chancellor's first day back at work after he proceeded on leave amid angry protests over the death of Mr Vemula. A month before that, a note from the PhD scholar to the Vice Chancellor outlined his anguish over allegedly being discriminated against because he was a Dalit.

The students say the Vice Chancellor must be held accountable for Mr Vemula's death and sacked.

The police has denied that it was violent with the students on Tuesday when forcing them to disperse. "The evicted students formed into a mob outside the compound wall and started stone pelting in which four police officers got injured...the police had to use mild force to disperse the students," it said in a statement.


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