HYDERABAD: The English and Foreign Language University (EFLU) has done it again. It has stopped five students from writing the University entrance exams on the grounds that they are “politically active”. Abdul Jabbar, who had done his MA at EFLU had applied to do a PhD in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature and was supposed to write his entrance exams this weekend. When he tried to download his hall ticket for the entrance exam, he found that he couldn’t do so. He contacted the university authorities and was informed that it was the ‘university’s decision’ to not grant him admission.
Mr Jabbar who is from Kerala, says, “When I was unable to download the hall ticket, I asked my juniors who are currently studying in EFLU to go to the office where they were informed that the proctor had held back five applications. When I called the proctor he denied this, but the admissions office kept giving the same reason and the Vice Chancellor stated that the issue was out of his hands and it was at the proctor’s discretion.” Another student hailing from Kerala suffered the same fate as she tried to download her hall ticket for the entrance examination for the PhD course in Indian and World Literature to be held on February 24.
A senior official from the university stated, “It is clearly mentioned in our admission form that the university has a right to cancel the admission of any student if any discrepancies are found. The students’ admission has been withheld because of irregularities found while they were students of the university i.e. their participation in demonstrations in the university and if they have had any cases against them for the same.”
EFLU had done much the same thing in 2017 when two students from the University of Hyderabad, Kavyasree Raghunath and Manasi M.S., were denied permission to write their entrance exams because they were active participants in the ‘Justice for Rohith Vemula’ struggle. The proctor informed the students that he had evidence of their participation in the movement. Kavyasree Raghunath told this reporter, “The proctor said that he got our photographs of our participation in the movement from our Facebook accounts. The surveillance and scrutiny they have put into thousands of application forms they get is amazing. It is ridiculous for a university authority to monitor the Facebook posts of all applicants.” The two students were not allowed to write the entrance exams after widespread protests last year.
The students had also stated that they were MA students of EFLU itself before joining for M Phil in another university, and did not have a single complaint against them, just like Abdul Jabbar. "I did my MA in EFLU and graduated in 2016. I was given a show-cause notice while I was a student in EFLU for taking part in a students’ union protest. This is a clear case of targeting students from minority backgrounds and also ensuring that there are no voices of dissent on campus,” says Abdul Jabbar.
Students are naturally upset and angry at the "academic oppression" they see being played out every year. Central universities in Hyderabad have received flak earlier for trying to curb student voices. Students of EFLU had protested against an undertaking EFLU required that students won't post anything against the administration on social media.