Student’s suicide: No let up in protest at Hyderabad varsity

Hyderabad: There was no let up in protests by students at University of Hyderabad, demanding ouster of Vice Chancellor P. Appa Rao over the suicide of a Dalit research scholar as indefinite strike by seven of the protestors continued on Friday.

The revocation of suspension of four Dalit students by the executive council of the central university failed to pacify the students, who say that their prime demand is the resignation of the vice chancellor and action against him, two central ministers and others responsible for the suicide of Rohith Vemula.

Rohith Vemula The Joint Action Committee (JAC) for social justice, an umbrella organisation of 14 student groups, continued the protest for the fifth consecutive day, ignoring the appeal by the vice chancellor to return to classes and help resume normalcy on the campus.

The indefinite strike by seven JAC members entered the third day. The four suspended students also continued their sit-in at ‘veligonda’ (Dalit ghetto), a small makeshift tent, where they had been protesting since early this month to protest their suspension by the university authorities over an alleged clash with a leader of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Rohith, a PhD student, committed suicide by hanging himself in his friend’s hostel room on January 17, triggering protests on the campus and also in other universities in different parts of the country to demand action against those involved in suspension of the students and subjecting them to social boycott.

As many as 13 faculty members belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes have also resigned from their administrative roles to protest Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani’s statement that a Dalit professor headed the sub-committee of executive council which suspended the five students. The SC/ST Teachers and Officers’ Forum said the central minister uttered lies and made a misleading statement.

Meanwhile, a meeting of University of Hyderabad Teachers’ Association is scheduled later Friday to chalk it future course of action in view of the suggestion by a section of teachers that classes should resume.

Leaders of various political parties continue to visit the campus to express solidarity with the students and demand action against central ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani for their interference in an incident in the campus, which resulted in suspension of Dalit students.