Senior research scholar from the Central University of Kerala (CUK) and Dalit activist Ganhoti Nagaraju was arrested and remanded by the police on August 9th on charges of breaking glass panes in the hostel. Nagaraju, an active member of the Ambedkar Students Association and a native of Telengana, was arrested for breaking the glass pane of a fire extinguisher cabinet last month.
Speaking to TWJ, Sonu S, Unit Secretary of ASA, says â€œThe incident happened around midnight on July 8th. He broke a small glass. He was admitted to the hospital that particular day and he left for home once he got discharged. He came back to the campus a week back and that was when he received a suspension order.â€ Nagaraju, on receiving the suspension order talked with DSW, who demanded for an apology letter. The Ph.D. scholar then wrote the apology and agreed to replace the glass pane of the cabinet.
However, instead of handling the issue internally,the administration chose to approach the police. It was on Thursday evening that Nagaraju was arrested. â€œOn Thursday evening, police came in mufti to arrest him. He was treated as a criminal. These were issues that could be resolved within the university. But this looked planned as the police took up the case only after receiving pressure from the registrar who said that he would complain to senior police officials if they did not take the issue up. Even in their findings, the police state have the cost of the glass costs is around 300 Rupees,â€says Sonu. However, the police have now slapped non-bailable offenses on the scholar.
â€œThe wanton targeting of Mr. Nagaraju also sheds light on the anti-Dalit policies upheld by the university administration. As a person belonging to a marginalized community from a remote Telangana village, he has overcome multiple hurdles of injustice and oppression to reach his current stature. He is an active leader of the Ambedkar Students Association of the University and has taken part in a variety of protests and strikes against the anti-student attitude of the University administration. It is this involvement that has led to this willful act of revenge on the part of the administration,â€ says a statement released by ASA.
Various organizations within the campus including SFI, Fraternity, MSF, NSUI have also come in support of the scholar. â€œOur prime concern as of now is his bail. The next priority would be to repeal the case as this can affect his Ph.D. enrolment. The fact that his mother died 8 months back and he is still recovering from the trauma of it is not even considered by themâ€, added Sonu.
Nagaraju was also targeted earlier by the university administration. Back then, he was slapped with a memo accusing him of instigating a protest carried out by the people from Kalam Nagar, who were displaced for the construction of the University. Nagaraju was also an active participant at the Rohit Movement that happened at Hyderabad Central University. However, the administration says that it was just a matter of discipline and not an act of vengeance.