Fourteen students from English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad, were detained by Telangana police on Sunday afternoon after the students conducted a 24-hour hunger strike demanding the re-opening of university hostels.
"We were peacefully protesting outside the university gates. Though the administration called six students to listen to our demands, they were not ready to negotiate and later called the police upon us. The administration even refused access to toilets for us," said one of the protesting students.
The police detained the students citing the prohibition of gatherings of any kind during the Telangana MLC election procedures. The students, who were taken to Osmania University police station, were released after two hours with the help of a lawyer.
The protesting students took videos of the police arresting students and shared them online. The videos show police violently manhandling the students and forcing them into the vehicles.
One of the students said, "They tore our students' clothes off, shoved people into police vans, tried to push and beat people up. They had snatched our phones away, as well."
EFLU students have long been trying to negotiate with the administration to re-open hostels for those students who did not have a good internet connection or a safe and suitable environment in their houses to attend the classes.
As per the latest UGC guidelines suggesting 50 per cent of the total students can be called back into the campus, EFLU students had submitted a detailed proposal to the administration in February demanding the re-opening of hostels, library and availability of other campus facilities in a phased manner for students who had a difficult time coping with studies back home. But the administration refused to meet with the students or give follow-ups.
According to the EFLU Students' Action Committee, in an online survey conducted by the students, about 522 respondents among the total 845 said they were in urgent need of hostels.
Condemning the event, students have sent e-mails to all the university professors requesting to take action against the administration's apathy towards students' genuine concerns.
Students are also planning an indefinite boycott of all online classes starting from Monday 15th of March until their concerns are adequately addressed.