Hyderabad: About 20 students led by Osmania University students joint action committee (AC) met Prof M Kodandaram, the political JAC convener for Telangana, on Monday and demanded that he consult them before deciding any student-related agitation including educational bandhs hereafter.
The formal meeting saw a public demonstration of the growing resentment in the OU student community against the political JAC chief who is currently spearheading the T agitation. And what more, several faculty members of the university, too, share the students’ feelings, sending out indications that Kodandaram is no longer seen as a respected a leader as before on his own campus i.e., Osmania University.
The students and the faculty members of OU say that the Telangana agitation is largely becoming TRS-driven under the guidance of Kodandaram. The groups that have come out in the open against the political JAC leader on the OU campus include People’s Democratic Students Union (PDSU), Dalit and BC student unions, SC & ST Telangana Teachers Forum, Osmania University Teachers’ Front and also some sections of the OU students’ JAC.
The students aver that the political JAC, which was formed after OU-JAC, has hijacked the agitation and is steering it towards what seems to be a ‘T’ stalemate. “In the most recent case, the political JAC called for an educational bandh and it wasn’t successful. The bandh was called without consulting the students’ unions on OU campus and other Telangana campuses,” said M Krishank, the OU-JAC spokesperson. “We need to know who is taking decisions in the political JAC and why students and faculty members of OU are not being consulted before calling for bandhs,” he added. Some of the faculty members of the university who are in fact part of Telangana political JAC are also not called for meetings and discussions, sources said.
Sources said that the rift between Kodandaram and students is now widening on caste lines, particularly after the Harish Rao incident in Andhra Bhawan, New Delhi.
Soon after television channels flashed images of Harish Rao slapping a Dalit staff member of Andhra Bhavan in New Delhi, the students in OU held a protest even as Kodandaram maintained that the incident could not be classified as a case of caste discrimination. “Students had called for protests against TRS wingman Harish Rao even after Kodandaram explained to them that the incident cannot be linked to caste discrimination. In fact, the protests against Harish Rao were led by both Dalit and non-Dalit students unions which once supported political JAC,” said a professor.
The Harish Rao incident did not go down well with most SC students who have played a crucial role in the Telangana movement on OU campus.
Faculty members said that Kodandaram, who used to command respect in all faculty circles when he was the president of Telangana Vidyavanthula Vedika before 2009, is now being looked down upon for being close to the TRS wing. “The TRS never had any support base on campus. And anyone who is overtly associated with TRS is considered to be a turncoat on OU campus. Owing to his pro-TRS stand which is becoming more visible by the day, Prof Kodandaram has lost the support he used to enjoy on OU campus before 2009,” said Prof Mallesham. He said that Telangana Professors’ Collective, which was formed in 2009 on OU campus, commands the respect of students now, more than the political JAC.
Several faculty members are also openly writing about their differences with Kodandaram in university newsletters, the sources said.
Sources indicated that the students of OU who used to back any agitation proposed by the Telangana JAC are also slowly expressing their dissatisfaction in public. “Except for one of the students’ wings led by Pidamarthi Ravi, no students’ collective on campus is supporting the TRS or political JAC’s action plan,” a source said.
Despite several attempts by TOI, Kodandaram could not be contacted for his comments. TOI