A sustained wave of anti-social and anti-national activities persists at the University of Hyderabad (UoH), where communal politics appears to be fermenting with the collaboration of the administration and the elected Students’ Union. Radical Islamists, in conjunction with fervent Communists, are disseminating inflammatory rhetoric against Hindus and Hindutva, extending their agenda to graffiti on HCU walls with highly condemnable statements such as “Against Hindutva,” “Preserve India from Hindutva,” and “Reject occupation from Kashmir to Palestine.” The administration, unfortunately, remains a passive observer.
While university campuses traditionally serve as democratic spaces for open discourse, the recent turn of events underscores an alarming escalation in radical expressions. Engaging in such activities reveals an apparent failure to conceal their extremist tendencies. Upholding the democratic ethos of campuses necessitates facilitating diverse opinions, yet the resorting to provocative statements challenges the very essence of constructive dialogue.
The administration’s passive stance in the face of these actions raises questions about its commitment to maintaining a balanced and inclusive environment. The current scenario demands a closer examination of the delicate balance between freedom of expression and the responsibility to curb activities that may incite discord or deviate from the principles of constructive engagement.
In the unfolding narrative, on December 6th, Radical Islamists orchestrated a series of programs marked by evocative posters proclaiming ‘Forever Babri’ and ‘Babri Zinda,’ accompanied by the screening of ‘Recalling Babri.’ These orchestrated events were calibrated to coincide with the anniversary of the Babri Masjid’s demolition on December 6, 1992. The overarching objective of these programmes was to inculcate a radical mindset among the youth, specifically geared towards the reinstatement of the Babri Masjid. This endeavour, entailing the invasion and dismantling of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, flagrantly disregards a judicially mandated directive—the Supreme Court’s order of November 9, 2019, endorsing the construction of a grand temple at the Ayodhya site. The deliberate defiance of this court order implicates the organisers in a case of criminal contempt, a legal nuance that accentuates the gravity of their actions. It is both disconcerting and distressing to note that the University of Hyderabad possessed foreknowledge of these radical programmes yet abstained from proactive intervention.
In the continuum of unfolding events, an unmistakable apathy on the part of university officials marked the unauthorised progression of these events. As programmes materialised sans prior authorization, security personnel assumed a passive observer role during the congregation of radical Islamists. The dissemination of provocative posters, notably the ‘Rebuild Babri’ proclamation, and the display of placards advocating the reconstruction of the Babri Masjid set the stage. This symbolic gesture was followed by the meticulous painting of a Babri Masjid replica, signifying an overt intent to reinstate it at its original site.
Amidst queries from inquisitive students regarding the permissibility of such unsanctioned and radical activities, the Students’ Union President, Ateeq Ahmed, made a noteworthy entrance. However, instead of embodying the anticipated secular stance inherent in his elected role, Ahmed’s response, encapsulated in the dismissive question, ‘What’s your issue?,’ regrettably echoed an alignment with the radical elements. This alignment, coupled with the overt association with the SFI and its affiliates, introduces a layer of complexity to the unfolding narrative.
The university administration’s attitude is undeniably reprehensible and emblematic of a recurrent trend where they afford undue latitude to radical Islamists and Communists in utilising campus spaces for student radicalization. A pertinent instance unfolded on January 26th, 2023, as the SFI HCU conducted an unauthorised screening of the proscribed documentary “India: The Modi Question,” falling within the purview of Section 69A of the IT Act 2000 and IT Rules 2021. Significantly, this screening was strategically scheduled to coincide with the planned projection of “Kashmir Files” by the ABVP.
In a marked display of selectivity, the university administration refrained from intervening in the unsanctioned screening by SFI HCU. However, it exhibited a discriminatory stance by obstructing the projection equipment of ABVP during the scheduled screening of “Kashmir Files.” Regrettably, there has been a conspicuous absence of corrective action against those responsible for the screening of the banned documentary on campus, thereby perpetuating an environment of impunity and challenging institutional norms.
The recurring pattern of the university administration’s complacency towards the utilisation of campus spaces for Islamic radicalization, often in collaboration with left-liberal associations, warrants urgent scrutiny. The allowance of unauthorised screenings, provocative activities, and the dissemination of graffiti statements against Hindutva not only undermines the institution’s commitment to intellectual diversity but also poses a significant threat. The continued radicalization within the campus environment has the potential to adversely impact students and, consequently, the nation at large. Such trends risk eroding the cultural bonds within society, fostering divisions that may escalate into physical conflicts between different communities—a highly sensitive and precarious issue that demands proactive intervention. It is imperative for the university administration to reevaluate its stance, ensuring that the campus remains a space for constructive dialogue, fostering unity, and upholding the values essential for a harmonious and intellectually vibrant academic environment.