Published: 18th May 2022
On May 21, Osmania University will inaugurate a new venue for protests and discussions
Where is this new location? What are student organisations saying? Is the new location suitable for protests and discussions?
Osmania University's Arts College is famous for being the venue for many protests that are held on campus. But as per the latest directive from the administration of the state university, no protests will be staged in front of the Arts College anymore. This is because, on Saturday, May 21, a Centre for Student Discourses will be launched to encourage debates on socio, economic, cultural and political matters plus, other kinds of issues or topics. This includes student protests.
The space is capable of accommodating 200 students at a time and has audio facilities as well.
Vice-Chancellor of the Osmania University Prof D Ravinder stated, "Arts College is known as a knowledge centre. Yet, right in front of the college, every alternate day, one or the other event is being organised which is sending wrong signals to the society. In light of this, a decision has been taken to provide a place for democratic debates and discussions."
When questioned about what measures will be taken to make sure students will follow this rule, the Vice-Chancellor said, "We have provided stage and other facilities plus, we will formulate certain rules and regulations. A course of action will be taken if anyone violates them."
Sharing his view pertaining to seeking prior permission for protest and if this would be acceptable to students, the professor said, "In a democratic country every student organisation has a right to protest and we are not against it. But there is a way to do it."
But State Executive Member and Hyderabad's General Secretary of All India Students' Federation (AISF), Gyara Naresh is not entirely happy, especially with the location. It is located near the canteen, opposite to the Arts College and barely visible. It won't be able to attract any attention or the media either, which is the whole point behind creating awareness about issues, he said.
Moreover, "OU wasn't restricting events being organised by other organisations. Only the student body organisations or associations like AISF, ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad), SFI (Students' Federation of India), NSUI (National Students' Union of India) and others were restricted."
While ABVP All State Universities Convenor, M Suman Shankar says it all depends on the purpose. If there is an event or a programme, an indoor space could be suitable while for a protest, they rather stick to the outdoors. What about seeking prior permission? "We have always protested without seeking any permission and we will continue to do so," he said.
The Arts College has its own importance and its significance as a site for protest dates back to the Vande Mataram movement and more recently, the Telangana agitation.