Governor Narasimhan skips Osmania Convocation

By A Srinivasa Rao

Andhra Pradesh governor ESL Narasimhan had to feel the heat of the ongoing agitation for separate Telangana state on Thursday, when he cancelled his scheduled visit to Osmania University (OU) to preside over the 79th convocation of the university following a call given by the students to boycott the function.

This is for the first time in the history of the Osmania University that the convocation had to be held in the absence of the governor, who happens to be the chancellor of all the universities in the state. In the absence of the covernor, former vice-chancellor of Hyderabad Central University and former Indian Institute of Science Director Prof Goverdhan Mehta gave away the degrees and medals to the students at a simple ceremony. In all, the university conferred 86 gold medals on graduates and post-graduates, besides 292 Ph D degrees.

Incidentally, the OU convocation was held after a gap of nearly three years, thanks to the intensified Telangana agitation.The 78th convocation was held in July 2010, in which Narasimhan had participated, but it was a low key affair.

According to the original schedule of the university, Narasimhan was supposed to attend the convocation ceremony in the morning. However, the news about governor’s arrival triggered wild protests from students in the university, which has been the nerve centre of Telangana agitation for several decades. While the Osmania University Joint Action Committee (OUJAC) and Progressive Democratic Students Union (PDSU) gave a call for OU bandh on Thursday, several student groups agitating for separate Telangana staged demonstrations in the campus, raising: “Governor go back.”

The contention of the Telangana students was that the governor was a strong opponent of Telangana state formation and that the UPA government had been dodging the Telangana issue only on his advice. “Narasimhan is the person who has been stalling Telangana formation for the last three years. He has been submitting false reports to the Centre underplaying the agitation. He has developed a sort of hatred against Telangana. That is the reason why we are opposing his entry into the OU campus,” OUJAC leader M Krishank said.

Another student leader Dattatreya wondered what the governor had been doing when several innocent youth had committed suicide for Telangana. “There was not even an appeal from him asking the youth not to commit suicide. On many occasions, he made sarcastic remarks on Telangana,” he said.

Though the police authorities assured to ensure that there would be no disturbance on the campus on the occasion of convocation, the intelligence department reportedly sounded an alert to the Raj Bhavan that there might be violent protests during the governor’s visit to the OU campus and even if one student made an attempt suicide during the convocation function, it would possibly spark off large scale violence.

As a result, the governor decided to stay away from the convocation function in the OU campus. A spokesman of Raj Bhavan said the governor could not attend the function as he had other “official engagements.

A large contingent of police forces was posted on the campus to prevent any violent protests from the students. The OU police took as many as 12 student leaders into preventive custody in anticipation of trouble, but with the governor deciding to abstain from the convocation, the students called off their bandh call and attended the function. There were, however, “Jai Telangana” slogans at the Tagore Auditorium, where the convocation was held, and demonstrations on the campus.

[Source: India Today]

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