Ex VC Lucknow University, RoopRekha Verma targeted for extending support to protesting students

The Lucknow University administration and the UP police are now blaming the ex VC of the university, Professor RoopRekha Verma for the violence that occurred in the campus earlier in the week. It was alleged that the students attacked the current VC, SP Singh, as a protest was going on regarding the issue of denial of admission of students.

Roop Rekha

RoopRekha Verma taught in Lucknow University for over four decades. She broke past academic records at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. She gained eminence as an academic early on in life, having published papers in some of the most prestigious journals. She has been passionate about social activism and is recognized as a strong voice against religious fundamentalism and conflict, violence against women and other human rights issues.

It is well known that Verma is a staunch critic of the right while the current VC, Singh is said to be closely associated with the RSS. The university administration ordered a probe into the supposed role played by Verma. After the high court took suo moto cognisance of the violence, the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) told the court thatshe encouraged the agitating students to resort to violence.

Denying any such possibility, Verma said, “I was many miles away. Not present at the protest site at all when the violence took place,” She also added that she extended her support to the protesting students and visited the site but that was two days before the incident of suggested violence took place. She said, “..in no way did I or anyone else at the protest encourage violence”

Verma believes that she is being targeted, “They are trying to target me because I have been an outspoken critic of the university administration and how some of the steps taken by it go against the ethos of secularism,”

Former Vice Chancellor of Lucknow University Professor RoopRekha Verma and litterateurs Naresh Saxena and Virendra Yadav had gone to the University campus and sat on a stir with students who were on a hunger strike since July 2.

Students sat on a strike because as many as 25 students were denied admission to postgraduate courses by LU on grounds that they were involved in ‘indiscipline’

On July 4, apparently, an incident of violence broke out when some students tried to block the path of the VC passing the site in his car. It was unclear who attacked the VC but the blame was put on the students who were, in fact, engaged in a peaceful demonstration.

Seemingly, innocent students who merely sat for the hunger strike, were beaten mercilessly by the police. Afterwards, student leader Pooja Shukla was arrested for three days as she was leading the hunger strike. She was badly beaten up and had fainted due to hypotension and dehydration on July 5.

The High Court had taken suo moto cognisance of the violence, reprimanded the UP police for not acting on the complaint of the LU administration. It has asked the state police to file an affidavit informing the court about its investigations into the violence and the next hearing is on July 16.

Student leaders express anger over beating and arrest of Pooja Shukla and others



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