It was a rather packed afternoon at the University of Hyderabad on January 19, with students, university staff, protesters and onlookers coming together at the shopping complex on campus: the throngs only growing with the announcement of the arrival of Rahul Gandhi. As the restless students waited for him to speak, the air filled with slogans against the vice chancellor, against BJP and everything "brahmanical". Folk songs fitted with impromptu lyrics describing Rohith as a son of the campus came next, interspersed with students and ASA members filling in on the events since Sunday.
|Scenes from University of Hyderabad on Tuesday.|
Rahul Gandhi's brief speech was listened to in silence mostly, with the occasional jibe from a student or two, to his remark, "I'm not here as a political leader but a young person". Some others attempted selfies, trying to capture him in the background, regardless of the dias being meters away. Scores of students settled all around the dias much in advance, while many last minute entrants were seen climbing the trees around the shopping complex, and further up, upon shop hedges for a better view.
With the dias already set, it was an opportunity for many others to speak as well, to express solidarity and their views, with a few local politicians joining in the protests too. Last heard, BSP supremo, Mayawati is on her way to University of Hyderabad too. The announcement came as we waited for AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi to arrive. A passionately delivered homage later, he too urged prime minister Modi in his speech to take "these issues seriously," and hoped that the twitter savvy PM would respond.
In the meantime, on the sidelines, some students were heard frantically calling parents, siblings, friends etc to switch on their TVs. "It's being covered live! " was the excited sentiment. With the deluge of media, police and other security personnel seen all over, some wondered for how long classes would be shut, while some others shared snatched accounts of lathi charge by police yesterday. Some one else pointed out, "this is like Peepli Live..."