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Protests erupt in Hyderabad’s Osmania University after permission denied for Rahul Gandhi to visit campus

After refusing to allow Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to visit the Osmania University in Hyderabad on May 7, the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) activists supported by the Telangana Congress have been organising protests for the previous two days. Meanwhile, the Telangana High Court, which was hearing the Congress’ appeal, refused to intervene and told the university to make a final judgement. The administration of the university is adamant in its stance.

Venkat Balmoor, the president of the NSUI, and 17 other activists have been arrested for vandalising the campus. This has been turned into a virtual fortress with police restricting access to outsiders following the violence on Sunday when Balmoor and others barged onto the campus and attempted to throw stones at the Vice Chancellor’s office.

In order to avoid any law and order issues, Osmania University issued a statement on Monday stating that no political visits will be permitted on campus. The Osmania University authorities clarified to the media that permission for Rahul Gandhi’s ‘non-political’ visit was sought on April 22, but the university’s highest executive body had already decided last year that no political, religious, or other organisations would be allowed to hold any gatherings on campus.

In addition to the MBA exams, which began on April 30, the campus will have elections for non-gazetted officers, OU technical staff, and the employee union on May 7, the same day that Rahul Gandhi is set to arrive. ‘We want to avoid any potential law and order situation for the sake of students. We had also denied permission to BJP MP Tejashvi Surya when he wanted to visit the campus in 2020. Rules remain same everyone’, a senior university professor said.

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Rahul Gandhi will spend two days in Telangana, where he will attend a massive political event in Warangal on May 6. The Telangana Congress will be officially mobilising for the 2023 assembly elections with Rahul Gandhi’s visit, despite facing a stiff challenge from the TRS, which is confident of returning to power for a third term, and the BJP, which is aggressively expanding its footprints in the state, buoyed by victories in two bypolls and a strong performance in the 2020 Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation election.

‘Osmania University has been the hotbed of the Telangana statehood agitation movement. The TRS made tall promises to the youth of this state. Rahul Gandhi ji will highlight TRS’ failure in creating jobs. TRS has also failed to compensate the families of those who took part in the statehood movement’, Sangareddy MLA Jagga Reddy stated, adding, ‘If Rahul Gandhi is not allowed, then I challenge Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao to visit the campus and face wrath of the students’.

While members of the NSUI and the Youth Congress have been leading a state-wide protest after their leader was denied permission to visit the campus, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and TRS-affiliated students’ associations have organised protests to say Rahul should not be allowed to visit the university.


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