Hyderabad: Students of Osmania University on Monday began an indefinite hunger strike to protest against the government’s inaction and ineffectiveness on the issue of granting statehood to Telangana.

The mass hunger strike has been called by the Telangana Student Joint Action Committee (JAC).

In a bid to avoid any untoward incident, the state government has appointed a peace committee to review law and order at the University, which has appealed to the students to help maintain normalcy on the campus.

In addition, to prevent possible clashes, police have taken several students into preventive custody and have intensified checking on the city outskirts to bar students from reaching the campus.

An emergency meeting of the peace committee, which was held yesterday under the chairmanship of Osmania University In-charge Vice-Chancellor D N Reddy, senior police officials and other varsity authorities took note of the recent disturbances on the campus following the students' agitation.

The committee expressed concerns over the volatile situation and disruption of academic functioning at the University.

It also drew attention of the students and stakeholders to the need for adherence to the Supreme Court directive, which states that no outsiders shall be permitted in any meeting/programme conducted by the students on OU campus.

The committee appealed to the student community to help maintain normalcy in the campus while carrying on their programme peacefully.

The committee has also appealed to the University students to carry their ID cards with them during their movement in and out of the campus.

It also sought cooperation of principals, faculty and other authorities and staff of the University in counseling the students, according to a release.

The Supreme Court had directed the Home Secretary, Hyderabad Police Commissioner and Osmania University Vice-Chancellor to meet at regular intervals and review the law and order situation on the campus.

Police have already denied permission for the proposed hunger strike even as pro-Telangana students expressed their determination on holding the protest.

"We will definitely take up the protest (hunger strike) as per our plan," a pro-Telangana student leader said.

The OU campus, which has turned into the nerve centre for the separate Telangana (with series of pro-Telangana protests since November 2009) movement was again rocked by violence after pro-Telangana students clashed with police during the 48-hour Telangana bandh observed on July 5 and 6.

Agencies