Osmania University of Hyderabad (OU), one of India’s oldest universities with a rich history of student politics for decades, has refused to allow former Congress president Rahul Gandhi to visit the campus on May 7 for a “non-political” program.
Political turmoil erupted on Saturday over the OU Executive Council’s refusal. Congress has accussed the organization to have succumbed to the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) -led state government’s pressure. Some students applied to the Telangana High Court on the same day and asked the university to direct them to allow Rahul Gandhi’s visit.
Congress leaders said on Sunday that they had applied on April 23 for a visit of “non-political” nature. The program was not approved by the university since the administration passed a resolution in 2017 banning non-academic activities, including political meetings, on campus by the executive council.
According to a 2017 circular, the OU was set up for the purpose of providing higher education, informing teachers and students that non-academic activities such as political meetings on campus would not be allowed, university officials said. A resolution to this effect was also passed by the OU Executive Council. In view of this, the University said, the visit of a political leader on campus could not be a non-political event, so Rahul Gandhi’s visit was not allowed.
Notably, the university’s decision sparked protests on campus and many Youth Congress leaders and supporters staged a demonstration at the OU Arts College on Saturday. The student organizations affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and TRS organized a counter protest.