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TISS students intensify stir against Dalit scholar’s death

Calling the 28-year-old Vemula’s death as an ‘institutional murder’, over 300 students boycotted their classes, fieldwork and other academic activities on the campus in protest.

Written by Dipti Singh | Mumbai | Published: January 19, 2016 2:00 am
 Dalit scholar’s death, death, TISS death, TISS proteect, mumbai news TISS

STUDENT GROUPS at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) have intensified their protest after the alleged suicide of Rohith Vemula, a second-year Dalit research scholar from Hyderabad Central University (HCU).

Calling the 28-year-old Vemula’s death as an ‘institutional murder’, over 300 students boycotted their classes, fieldwork and other academic activities on the campus in protest.

Vemula, who was pursuing his PhD in science, technology and society studies from HCU had committed suicide on Sunday night. A supporter of Ambedkar Students’ Association, Vemula and four others Dalit researchers were suspended from the university hostel after a tiff with ABVP workers. Post their suspension, the five students had been sleeping in the open in protest.

“Rohith Vemula did not commit suicide, he was murdered by the university authorities, ABVP leaders and this system. Our demand is that the culprits should be brought to book. I extend my solidarity to the HUC joint action committee and also urge other student communities to join the movement seeking justice for Vemula,” said a PhD student from TISS.

Another TISS student said, “The five expelled Dalit students were constantly being harassed by university administration and ABVP leaders… This brings to the fore the malicious and casteist role played by the Hindutva brigade led by the ABVP and the BJP member of legislative council (MLC) Ramachandra Rao who termed the ‘Dalits’ as ‘anti-national’, as well as the complicity of the HCU administration through their inept handling of the situation. We demand justice.”
“Vemula came from a poor background and held a scholarship under the University Grants Commission’s Junior Research Fellowship programme. The students have gathered to express their solidarity for Vemula,” Prof PK Shahjan, dean, student affairs, TISS said.

TISS students along with other student unions across the country are already up in arms against the decision of Hyderabad varsity of expelling the five students in September.

TISS students also organised a candlelight march in support of the expelled research scholars.

Meanwhile, students of Mumbai University have also planned to hold a protest on Tuesday.

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  1. T
    TISS Community
    Jan 19, 2016 at 5:18 am
    Correct the factual errors please- 1) TISS students did not organize any CANDLE LIGHT MARCH- pls refer to other reports. 2) Rohith is not 28- he is 26 ( his date of birth is 30th Jan 1989)
    1. L
      Lakshmipathi Vadlakonda
      Jan 19, 2016 at 3:40 am
      Calling Dalits fighting for the rights as anti national is atrocious. One only needs to experience the caste criminality that goes on in the insutes of higher learning. Denial of placements for research is common.A cursory look on the allocation of grants and their spending, selection processes and the award of project istants etc., speaks volumes on the state of art in these insutes. Irony is many of these pundits are not ashamed of admitting their right to favour their kith and caste people. The cult of Dronacharya, denying right to learning by dalits and killing the knowledge on the rise?
      1. M
        Jan 19, 2016 at 4:00 am
        After the Bihar elections there was an unusual silence in the media for a while. Even the worst violece in Malda was ignored. Now the elections for Punjab, am, TN, Kerala and Bengal are nearing and the ravenous media is gleefully back in action. We will be able to see much more furious media anchors and ferocious Goswami in action