The students of The English Foreign Language University (EFLU), Hyderabad have broken their fast today, November 14, on the ninth day since they started it on November 6 seeking justice for the student who was sexually assaulted on campus on October 18. Five EFLU students started their hunger strike on November 6 and were supported by the students from Osmania University, Hyderabad Central University and other women’s associations as well as student associations.
To recall, a female student was allegedly sexually assaulted by three unidentified men on the campus on October 18. Ever since then, the students have resorted to protest and later, initiated a hunger strike, blaming the lapses of the administration in taking swift action.
Today, November 14, the students of EFLU issued a statement mentioning restrategising their ongoing protests and the legal process for marching forward in seeking justice. “As we enter the ninth day, we are faced with some objective obstacles such as upcoming semester exams and vacations. Continuing with our current forms of protest is not possible under these conditions. Therefore we have restrategised and adopted other methods,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the parents of the students have filed a writ petition in the Telangana High Court today. As per the statement, students’ demands mentioned in the writ petition are:
● Immediate reconstitution of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) according to the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations, with elected student representatives
● Withdrawal of wrongful FIRs and show-cause notices against students
● Immediate conduct of Student Union elections
● Withdrawal of police presence from campus
● Cessation of harassment by guards and non-consensual filming of students
● Lifting of restrictions on parents visiting their children on campus
Further, disclosing details on how the protest will be continued, the students’ statement read, “In order to mobilise students for the struggle, on-ground activities such as meetings, discussions, talks, and film screenings related to the movement and the concerns it raises will continue.”
“Representations will also be sent to all relevant higher bodies to demand intervention and redressal of our grievances. This phase of the movement is concerned with mobilising more students to join the struggle, and the legal pursuit is addressed directly to authorities placed higher than the EFLU administration since the latter has shown utter apathy and malice in addressing student concerns,” it added.
As the protest, hunger strikes and demonstrations have resulted in the administration serving FIRs and show cause notices to students, what cannot be ignored is that Proctor T Samson has been removed and the Education Ministry has advertised for a new Vice-Chancellor. “However, these represent only a partial fulfilment of our basic demands regarding our immediate safety. The administration has shown that it is utterly careless of its students’ safety, even as they endanger their lives,” it added.