Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inaugural function of the 105th Indian Science Congress (ISC) from 3-7 January 2018, is likely to be moved out of the Osmania University (OU), due to students’ unrest on campus. A decision to hold the prestigious event at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) will be taken by next week as the SPG that protects the PM and the local police have security concerns.
The students’ unrest is not much aimed at the PM as it is at Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) who has been targeted for not filling government jobs in the last three and a half years. The campus is on boil since 4 December when an MSc first year student Murali committed suicide in his hostel bathroom, leaving a note that he was fed up with the government’s failure to create jobs for youth like him.
This is the second time that the 100-year-old OU is hosting the Indian Science Congress. Last time, then PM I.K. Gujral inaugurated the event in January 1998. This year’s edition has a theme of “Reaching the Unreached through science and technology” and will be attended by 20 Nobel Laureates and around 5,000 delegates from 40 countries.
The last edition of the 104th Congress was held at Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, in Andhra Pradesh and PM Modi was the chief guest at the inaugural. There was no problem from the university students, though there were different students’ organisations on the campus, and some political parties tried to meet the PM to hand over some representations.
However, the situation on the OU campus this time is viewed differently by the police. There was tension on the campus when the then President Pranab Mukherjee came here to participate in the OU centenary celebrations on 26 April 2017. The police had to arrest dozens of students who planned to burn effigies of CM KCR, who had to cancel his speech at the function as intelligence reports warned against protests from students if he rose to speak.
OU Vice-Chancellor Prof S. Ramachandram, who is the local host of the ISC, told The Sunday Guardian on Friday: “The SPG and the police are assessing the security situation on the campus in view of the presence of the PM and the CM at the inaugural.” Prof Ramachandram hinted that the alternative venue could be HICC at Madhapur, 25 km from the OU campus.