EFLU students protest; demand reconstitution of SPARSH committee

The students currently participating in the protest are understandably apprehensive about potential repercussions
File photo of EFLU | (Pic: Express)
File photo of EFLU | (Pic: Express)

Demanding the reconstitution of the Sensitisation, Prevention and Redressal of Sexual Harassment (SPARSH) committee, students at The English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad are staging a protest on the campus. This demonstration, which started late on Monday, October 16, continued on Tuesday, October 17, with students also opting to boycott their classes, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

Approximately 300 students initiated the protest, comprising representatives from student organisations apart from other students. A second-year MA student told The New Indian Express that a student's collective, comprising 50-60 students, has been holding meetings over the past one to two months to address various issues within the university.

The students assert that the SPARSH committee, established in accordance with an EFLU rule to address matters related to the Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment Act of 2013, has been inactive since June. Their primary concerns revolve around the fact that the committee's members have not been disclosed, and the guidelines prescribed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for its formation have not been adhered to.

Despite making multiple attempts to engage with the administration and submitting petitions, the students have not received clear responses, they said. Moreover, the individual designated as the chairperson of the SPARSH committee has denied holding that role.

Late on Monday, administrative officials held discussions with the students. While the demand to reconstitute the committee was approved, no specific date for its reformation was provided. The administration pledged to issue a circular the following morning, on October 17, but, as of now, no such communication has been received.

Consequently, the students have resolved to persist in their protest until the administration acknowledges their demands in writing and guarantees their basic rights.

Danger of disciplinary action
As part of their admission process, students at EFLU are required to sign Annexure 5, a document that includes a commitment not to engage in protests or demonstrations. This annexure, which is mandatory for all students upon admission, obligates them to fully comply with the university's rules and regulations.

It explicitly states that students must refrain from any form of indiscipline or misconduct that could lead to disciplinary actions. The annexure says, "undertake not to participate in any protest/demonstration which is not in accordance with the laid down rules and regulations of the university."

In the event that a student violates any of the university's guidelines, the institution reserves the exclusive right to impose consequences such as expulsion, rustication or any other appropriate disciplinary action.

The students currently participating in the protest are understandably apprehensive about potential repercussions. However, they are participating collectively, believing that the administration may find it challenging to take action against individual students as they stand united in their demonstration.


- Swift organisation of democratic elections for selecting three student representatives.

- The SPARSH election should be held before or concurrently with the student union elections slated for next month.

- Allocation of one seat for an LGBTQIA+ student, one seat for a female student and one open seat.

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