Dalit student death: Protests continue, Rahul to visit varsity

Hyderabad: Fresh protests erupted on the University of Hyderabad campus today over the alleged suicide by a dalit scholar even as members of a social outfit tried to hold a demonstration outside the residence of Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, who has been accused in the suicide case. Students gathered in the administrative block of the university and shouted slogans, seeking ‘justice’ for the dalit student.

Police said the situation was peaceful. “Just a small group of students gathered and shouted slogans. Situation is peaceful here,” Gachibowli police inspector J Ramesh Kumar said. Some activists belonging to Telangana Jagruthi, a social and cultural outfit led by TRS MP K Kavitha, tried to hold a protest outside the residence of Dattatreya here this morning, demanding his resignation.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, is expected to visit the university today. According to Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee working president Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, Gandhi would spend some time interacting with students over the issue.

“He will come here in a special flight at around noon. He will directly go the university and interact with students on the issue of suicide,” Bhatti told PTI. The university campus yesterday witnessed widespread protests after dalit student Rohit Vemula’s body was found hanging in a hostel room on Sunday.

Union Labour Minister Dattatreya and Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and three others were yesterday named in an FIR lodged with the Cyberabad police over the alleged suicide of the dalit student.

The issue took a political turn with allegations that the extreme action was a result of discrimination against dalit students at the behest of Dattatreya, who had written a letter to HRD Minister Smriti Irani, seeking action against their “anti-national acts”.

Rohit Vemula was among the five research scholars who were suspended by the university in August last year and also one of the accused in the case of assault on a student leader. PTI