On January 22, the University of Hyderabad witnessed various student organizations conducting events and issuing statements expressing strong dissent against the Ram Temple event in Uttar Pradesh, while a Hindutva student group organized a large celebration on campus.
NSUI, the student wing of the Indian National Congress, organized a Secular Classroom protest against the closure of public institutions in the backdrop of the Ram Temple inauguration. The organization’s poster mentioned screening “Ram Ke Naam (IN THE NAME OF GOD)” at 11 PM in the Students’ Recreation Hall. A group of students affiliated with Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) disrupted the program, leading to the cancellation of the documentary screening. Slogans, including anti-Muslim slogans like “Mathura Kashi Baki Hei,” were chanted. However, police and university authorities removed ABVP cadres from the venue.
Later, Dr. G. Vijay and Dr.Lakshmi Narayan delivered a lecture on Communalism followed by a discussion.
Muhammed Shareef CK, NSUI president of HCU unit, told Maktoob that the state should not lean/act favorably toward any particular religion. He highlighted that India’s first Prime Minister, J. Nehru, emphasized the separation of state and religion. In the present Indian context, PM Modi’s political agenda regarding the Ram Temple and its inauguration is strongly condemned by NSUI – HCU, he said.
“The organization is committed to upholding secular values and the spirit of the country and the university,” he said. Shareef noted continuous efforts from organizations like ABVP to disturb peace and harmony on campus and urged the student fraternity to remain vigilant against such efforts.
In the evening, the Student Federation of India organized the screening of “Ram Ke Naam” at North Ladies Hostel. The program concluded peacefully with the presence of police.
SFI HCU Unit Secretary Mohith said to Maktoob that Telangana police has called them and asked them not to screen the movie and leders responded to police by saying campus spaces belong to every one , the state should not hamper the freedom of speech and expression. He added: “We had shown the movie to express our resistance for the ongoing situation in our country but not to hurt anyone’s sentiments.”
At the same time, All India Students Association (AISA), the student wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), organized a protest at Velivada (North Shopcom) and recited songs of resistance. Poems by Gorakh Paney, Ramashankar Vidrohi, Devi Prasad Mishra, Rajesh Joshi.
Their statement reads: “’India had got a rude shock three decades ago when the historic Babri Masjid was demolished by the Sangh brigade in broad daylight, and further, it was never only about replacing a mosque with a temple; it was about reshaping India according to the RSS vision of Hindu Rashtra.”
Mohammed Roshan, unit secretary of the Muslim Students Federation (MSF), the student wing of the Indian National Muslim League, said to Maktoob: “The Sangh Parivar, in its pursuit to shape India into a Hindu Rashtra, is endeavoring to transform universities into Agraharas, as evident in the current situation at the University of Hyderabad.”
He stated that the Muslim Students Federation strongly condemned the administration’s actions, deeming them deeply condemnable, and asserted, “The Sangh Parivar is attempting to turn humiliation into a religious festival.”
Muhammed Rizwan of the Students Islamic Organization (SIO), the student wing of Jamat-e-Islami Hind, stated that the construction of a Ram Mandir above the thousands of graves of Muslims and the exuberance and celebration surrounding it throughout the country exhibit the naked violence that marks the Hindu nationalist project. He also added that the Hindutva forces in HCU did not fail to remind “secular India” of the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the tragedy of its aftermath.
Afsal Hussain, President of Fraternity Movement, HCU student wing of Welfare Party India, expressed deep concern regarding what’s happening in HCU and inside the country at large. He said, “Across the many events that happened in HCU today, one common and widely felt thing is the frenzied and menacing mob of ABVP; disrupting, hate mongering, abusing, and threatening.”
He further added that the thuggery and hate mongering of ABVP reached its peak as they marched after the unveiling of Ram’s poster to the ladies’ hostel. Multiple hate slogans, including “Gyanvapi thod dho,” “Kashi Madhura baki hei,” were raised by their cadres.
Ambedkar Students Association leader and former President of HCU Students Union, Prajwal, while responding to Maktoob, said that the history of the mobilization to build a Ram temple at the location of the Babri Mosque has been tainted by bloodshed.
He further added that all constitutionally minded inhabitants of this nation should feel ashamed of the public and joyous destruction of Babri Masjid and the deletion of its memories, which stand as reminders of inhuman atrocities on Muslims.
Hindutva student group, ABVP, organized a rally from the South Shopcom to the North LH.
Throughout the rally, ABVP cadres were seen using crackers and playing DJ songs at high volume. They decorated different parts of the campus with saffron flags and chanted provocative slogans like “Gyanvapi thod dho” and “Kashi Madhura baki hei.”
ABVP cadres also placed a huge portrait of Ram near the South Shopcom junction. The rally concluded at North LH.
All the events in HCU were peaceful except for the initial disruption of the NSUI’s “Secular classroom” event in the morning. A considerable number of police were present inside the campus. All the events concluded around 10:30.
Md Atheeq Ahmed, HCU Union President, told Maktoob that ABVP and the administration organized religious activities on the campus and attempted to hinder other organizations like NSUI and SFI.
He added, “The administration is providing more support to ABVP. ABVP behaved as if other organizations shouldn’t be here; it’s theirs. We cannot promote this kind of religious activity inside academic spaces.”
“But we ensured that organizations conducting their events went peacefully despite threats and attempts to disrupt by ABVP. Campus spaces belong to everyone; all ideas exist here. However, the administration and ABVP don’t want dissenting voices to be heard. The student community strongly opposed the saffronization of campus spaces; they attended in large numbers for SFI’s ‘Ram Ke Naam’,” he said.