Hyderabad Dalit student suicide: No evidence initially, then flip-flop began

Detailing the series of flip-flops on the issue, university sources said the decision to suspend the five was based on photographs submitted by ABVP leader N Susheel Kumar and statements by witnesses.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad | Updated: January 20, 2016 2:03 am
Mother of Rohith Vemula Mother of Rohith Vemula

THE HYDERABAD Central University’s decision to suspend five Dalit students, including Rohith Chakravarthi Vemula who committed suicide on Sunday, for allegedly assaulting an ABVP leader came after an inquiry panel initially found no “conclusive evidence” to prove the charges.

Detailing the series of flip-flops on the issue, university sources said the decision to suspend the five was based on photographs submitted by ABVP leader N Susheel Kumar and statements by witnesses.

Watch Video: Dalit Student Suicide Takes A Political Turn: A Discussion On The Latest Developments

On August 5, then university Vice-Chancellor Prof R P Sharma constituted an inquiry committee, headed by Chief Proctor Prof Alok Pandey, to probe allegations that Rohith and four other members of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) had assaulted Kumar. The students denied the charges and said they had questioned Kumar about his Facebook post that described them as “goons” and obtained a written apology from him.

Watch Video: Suspended Dalit Hyderabad Student Hangs Himself: What Transpired

Prof Pandey reported that he could not find any conclusive evidence that the ABVP leader N Susheel Kumar was beaten. But he stated that based on photographs submitted by Kumar and witness statements, it was evident that Kumar was manhandled, beaten and forced to tender an apology by more than 30 students led by D Prashanth, one of the suspended students.

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Apart from Prashanth, the report also identified the main culprits as Rohith Chakravarthi Vemula, Vijay Kumar, Sesu Chemudugunta and Velmula Sankanna.

A university official, speaking on condition of anonymity said that the inquiry process “became serious” after a letter from Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya alleging that “the University administration has become a mute spectator” to the assault on Kumar was forwarded by the Union HRD Ministry to the V-C.

“The letter was received just as Prof R P Sharma was preparing to remit office and new Vice-Chancellor Prof P Appa Rao was to take over. Prof Sharma had already dismissed the Proctorial Board’s recommendations to take strict action against the ASA students for manhandling Kumar. He constituted another inquiry committee which could not carry on after the V-C changed on September 21,” said the official.

“In between, the V-C’s office sent an explanation to the HRD Ministry in which it dismissed the incident as a clash between two student groups. However, after a few days, a sub-committee of the Executive Council decided to act on the recommendations by the Proctorial Board and decided to suspend the students. The new V-C was clearly under pressure to show that some action was taken and on December 17, the students were suspended,” said the official who drafted one of the replies to the HRD Ministry.

Meanwhile, the flip-flops had started:

* On September 10, sources said, the five students were suspended by the Proctorial Board for a semester but the move was stopped by Prof Sharma who constituted another inquiry by a sub-committee of the university’s Executive Council.

* On December 17, the university rejected the students’ appeals and upheld the decision to suspend them.

* On January 3, officials said, the council considered the board’s recommendations and suggested that the five students be suspended.

* On January 7, Prof P Prakash Babu, Dean, Students Welfare, said the university’s council took a “lenient view” and made the punishments conditional, barring the students from the hostel and all non-academic and political activities on campus.

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  1. K
    Jan 19, 2016 at 4:05 pm
    120 million dalits are getting ready arm themself to get Aistan .
    1. K
      Jan 20, 2016 at 12:01 am
      120 million dalits should collect one rupees from each house hold of dalit family so they will have 120 million rupees in hand which will be enough to Bump Dattatrya,anti dalit VC and ABVP.120 milllion dalits should sell there TV sets and buy arms to Punish RSS
      1. A
        Jan 19, 2016 at 7:04 pm
        Having been a student, one knows that written apologies are obtained under coercion. If a group cannot countenance being clified as goons on a social post and use force to get an apology , then I do not know with what face they can say that the space for dissent has got squeezed because of other party.
      2. A
        Ajay Sunder
        Jan 19, 2016 at 8:08 am
        Where are those who day in and day out would talk only about Dr. Ambedkar and how all of them dearly love all that Dr.Ambedkar stood for and symbolised .Who is going to answer the parents of that poor boy who perhaps in intelligence and intellect was no less than Dr.Ambedkar. Does anybody have the guts to say that all of them are sorry and promise that such a thing would never happen.That is the least they can do.
        1. A
          Jan 19, 2016 at 3:58 am
          Vice-Chancellor Prof R P Sharma had consuted an inquiry committee, headed by Chief Proctor Prof Alok Pandey. Both of them are UCVH (upper caste veg hindus ). What will be result ? Prof R P Sharma knew the result even before he appointed the inquiry committee.
          1. M
            Jan 19, 2016 at 6:16 am
            Smriti Irani has sold her soul just so that she could enjoy the perks of living in Lutyens Delhi.
            1. S
              Jan 19, 2016 at 2:37 am
              he should have moved the court. committing suicide is a grave mistake. such an educated student should have exposed the injustice meted out to him if it is true.
              1. C
                close observer
                Jan 19, 2016 at 5:29 am
                If there is a student clash with ABVP , union minister will send letter to HRD queen Srimit Irani for suspension. ............shame shame .. no morality
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