T-turmoil forces guv to skip Osmania convocation

It is the first time that the function was held in the chancellors absence

Anticipating protests from various student factions, Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan skipped the 79th annual convocation of Osmania University, the epicentre of the Telangana movement,  on Thursday.

The governor, who is also the chancellor of the university, was supposed to deliver the convocation address and give away degrees to the students. This was the first time in the history of the university that the convocation had to be held in the absence of its chancellor. The former Director of the Indian Institute of Science Prof Goverdhan Mehta presided over the ceremony.

The tense situation on the campus, which has been witnessing bouts of violence for the last few years, prompted him to stay away from the convocation. The pro-Telangana parties and student groups have been targeting Narasimhan, accusing him of being “anti-Telangana” and “feeding negative reports about the region to the Central government.”

“Narasimhan has been stalling the formation of a separate Telangana state 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 why we are opposing his entry into the campus,” the Osmania Students Joint Action Committee (OUJAC) leader M Krishank said.

The OUJAC, along with other student unions, had given a call for university bandh on Thursday to protest against the governor’s visit and threatened to stage demonstrations. The agitators hit the streets and raised slogans against Narasimhan.

Meanwhile, intelligence officials had alerted the police top brass about the possible law and order problem if the governor visited the campus, prompting them to make elaborate security arrangements. “We have taken 12 students into preventive custody,” an inspector at the Osmania University police station said.

However, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said that the governor could not attend the convocation as he had other “official engagements”.

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