OU students want removal of religious structures

The sight of agitating students at Osmania University may not be an unusual one, but the reason for their protest this time around has nothing to do with exams, syllabus or even the politically sensitive Telangana statehood issue.

Following the damage to an idol in a temple on the University campus by a group, the students are asking varsity authorities to remove mandirs and mosques from the campus, alleging that they have no place in a secular institution.

A recent RTI query by two OU research scholars revealed that there are 15 temples and 10 mosques and dargahs on the campus which are allegedly illegal and have no relevance since they did not officially exist when the last Nizam made the grant to the University hundred years ago.

While only one structure, Sainuddin Mosque, was allotted 22 cents of land during the Nizam period, the other religious structures are basically 'encroachment' of the varsity's property, the RTI reply said.

It further added that places of worship were not given to any party "either on lease or free".

Student groups, including the All India Students' Front, Progressive Democratic Students' Union, Telangana Vidyarthi Vibhag, Students' Federation of India, Bahujan Students' Front, Telangana Students' Association, Dalit Students' Union and Tribal Students' Union, have demanded the removal of these religious structures, accusing university authorities of not acting on their demand since last September.

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