Rohith Vemula's suicide case: Fresh protests rock Hyderabad university

Protests escalated on Friday at the Hyderabad Central University campus with students demanding "unconditional" revocation of suspension of four Dalit scholars and immediate action against those responsible for the alleged suicide of research scholar Rohith Vemula.

Rohith Vemula's suicide case: Fresh protests rock Hyderabad university

Hyderabad: Protests escalated on Friday at the Hyderabad Central University campus with students demanding "unconditional" revocation of suspension of four Dalit scholars and immediate action against those responsible for the alleged suicide of research scholar Rohith Vemula.

In no mood to accede to the appeal of the Vice Chancellor to return to classes and restore normalcy, the students said the revocation of suspension of four Dalit scholars announced yesterday was not "unconditional", as per the circular issued by the university.

 

"We reject the conditions stipulated on it," student leader Zuhail told reporters here, accusing the university of "mocking" at them.

"One of our beloved friend was institutionally murdered. We are fighting for justice, still the University of Hyderabad feels that this is an extraordinary situation. Are they still mocking us. We can't even understand the language you are using...if the extraordinary situation goes away, will it (extraordinary situation) come back," Zuhail said.

Seeking an end to the impasse, teachers today urged Vice Chancellor Prof Appa Rao Podile to initiate a dialogue with students and teachers. "The unanimous decision is that we are all teachers here.

App Rao is also a teacher. He was also president of University of Hyderabad Teachers Association. He can understand the problems. So let him come and address the faculty, listen to them. That is what everybody unanimously decided," the association's former president K Lakshminarayana said after a meeting of teachers.

He said the VC should also go to the agitating students and talk to them to see that normalcy is restored on the campus. "Secondly, most of the people are also saying that he should listen to the students, because students are the victims. Unless you talk to the victims, solution cannot be found. It is not created by the teachers. It is created by the administration. On behalf of the administration, VC should go to the site of protest. We are all there. Students are not violent. There is no evidence to show that," he said.

He said the decision taken at today's meeting has been communicated to the VC. 15 dalit (SC/ST) faculty members and officers have given up administrative positions in solidarity with the agitating students, according to Sudharkar Babu, convenor of SC/ST Teachers Forum. Eighteen of about 50 SC/ST faculty members and officers working in the varsity are assigned administrative positions, he said. 

 

Asked if there is any possibility of talks between the university authorities and the protesting students, Zuhail said it will be discussed by the students joint action
committee, if an offer comes. 

A medical check-up was conducted on seven students who have been on an indefinite fast for the last three days, and the blood pressure of some of them was found varying,
Zuhail said. 

About reports that Wi-Fi facility for students being disconnected on the campus, he said some of the students have complained that the network on the campus was slow.

The university authorities had yesterday "terminated" the punishment imposed on the students, but the protesting students were not satisfied with the revocation of the
suspension.

Rohith, whose body was found hanging in his hostel room on January 17, was among the five research scholars who were suspended by university in August last year. The suspension orders against D Prasanth, Vijay Kumar, Sheshaiah Chemuudugunta and Velpula Sunkanna have been revoked. 

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