Hyderabad: UoH gets its first Dalit queer student union president

Hyderabad: For the first time in the history of Hyderabad University elections, a Dalit queer and a Dait transgender have been elected as the president of the students’ union and a member of ICC-GSCASH respectively.

The election results were declared late Sunday night. Prajwal Gaikwad, a Dalit queer, has been elected as the union president securing 1,838 votes while Hritik Laxman Lalan, a Dalit transgender woman won the ICC (Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment) position. They belong to ASA-DSU-SFI (Ambedkar Students Association, Dalit Students Union and the Students’ Federation of India).

Two other students from the same party Prithvi Sai and Kripa Maria George won the vice-president and general secretary post securing 1,860 and 2,076 votes respectively.

The ASA-DSU-SFI drafted ABVP-OBCF-SLVD (Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad, Other Backward Classes Federation, and the Sevalal Vidhyarthi Dal). The elections were held after a gap of four years, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though 5,300 students were eligible to cast their vote, the voter turnout was recorded at over 76 percent. 

Prajwal Gaikwad is currently pursuing PhD in Gender Studies. In an earlier interview with The Indian Express, Gaikwad said if elected, they would work on reducing the gap between students and administration.

“There is a bureaucratic lag whenever a student has any work with the administration. This is undignified and drags on for days and months. We want to bring a single window system that will facilitate a student’s interaction with the administration. We would also work on the changing demographic and encourage first-generation learners and preference to the local Telugu populace,” Gaikwad was quoted by The Indian Express.

The elections saw high-voltage campaigning from both sides with frequent exchange of violence. On Friday, a clash broke out between SFI and ABVP members leaving many injured and property damaged.

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According to the ABVP members, tribal students and their members were beaten up by the SFI activists for not supporting their party. SFI members alleged that ABVP knew that they were going to get defeated in the student union election and that’s the reason they attacked and provoked the student community.