Published: 17th January 2020
Night before Rohith Vemula's anniversary, UoH whitewashes 'illegally drawn' Ambedkar quotes
The University has designated areas to hang posters on campus and had previously stated during the Velivada incident that the University would remove all banners put up without permission
On the day of Rohith Vemula's fourth death anniversary, the students of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) woke up to find that the Preamble to the Constitution and the Ambedkar quotes that they had drawn on the walls of the University had been painted over. Though they had done the graffiti on walls in contravention to the varsity's rules, the timing of the 'recourse' shook them. Around the same time last year, the administration was accused of destroying parts of the 'Velivada' that was set up in Rohith Vemula's memory on campus. Both incidents took place in the middle of the night.
The students had painted the Preamble on the walls along with some quotes by Dr BR Ambedkar as a part of their anti-CAA, NRC protests. Late last night, they had been painted over. "They were only the words of the preamble. The Preamble, how is that wrong in any way? And they don't have the guts to do it in broad daylight, while the students are around. They only want to do it in the middle of the night. They did the same with Velivada," Iniyavan Banumathi, the President of the Ambedkar Students Association said. The student leader believes it was the administration that had decided to wipe out the painting.
The preamble and Ambedkar's quotes were painted over
The administration did issue a statement after the Velivada incident saying that they had removed the portraits set up at Velivada because it was a 'broader move by the University to remove all banners, posters and flexes that appear on campus with permission'. The University only has designated areas where the students are allowed to put up posters, but Iniyavan says that campuses are meant to be spaces for paintings and graffiti, "All campuses have graffiti on their walls. This is just a way to intimidate us, especially with it being Rohith's death anniversary, they probably got anxious about what could happen on campus," the ASA leader believes. "The administration would have asked the security to paint over what we had drawn," he added.
So will they protest against it? "We'll just paint it again," Inivayan says nonchalantly.
Like every year, this time too, the students have organised a programme to mark Vemula's death anniversary. This year though, Payal Tadvi's parents will also be participating and MP Asaduddin Owaisi has also been invited. Vemula's mother Radhika Vemula and Prof Lakshminarayan will also be present on campus today. The students will march from Velivada to the auditorium this afternoon.