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
    Kumarpushp
    Jan 19, 2016 at 4:05 pm
    120 million dalits are getting ready arm themself to get Aistan .
    Reply
    1. K
      Kumarpushp
      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
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      1. A
        Ajay
        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.
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        1. 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.
          Reply
          1. A
            Arun
            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.
            Reply
            1. M
              mark
              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.
              Reply
              1. S
                sabapathy
                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.
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                  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
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    Aditya
                    Jan 19, 2016 at 9:26 am
                    The brave man was beating ABVP goons in university and was forcing them to apologise and when ABVP retaliated the guy chose to suicide, instead of fighting the battle politically or legally. He just quit and everybody else is shedding croc tears that will soon be erased by smile of winning India over Australia in 4th ODI. And as a nation we should stop mourning COWARDS.
                    Reply
                    1. V
                      venu
                      Jan 19, 2016 at 10:23 am
                      This is political platform for sure, at least for some unemplo people (In and out political parties). Whatever happened is very unfortunate and sad event. No body should jump and aim guns and a thorough unbiased inquiry should be conducted, if possible with a retired judge. I feel very sad that our educational insutions have become play grounds for some people. We should respect the insutions and keep the system clean from dirty politics. Why cant people including students debate and discuss for what is right and wrong. Our nation should come first for every act we do.
                      Reply
                      1. C
                        csoms
                        Jan 19, 2016 at 11:57 am
                        This unfortunate incident is like a dead carc for all the hungry political jackals,: eft,right, right center, left center, secularists et all. They will all gorge on this tragedy. A few months later life ,goes on , until a new political plot thickens. Little wonder that our universities are 3rd rate.
                        Reply
                        1. D
                          Deepak Singh
                          Jan 19, 2016 at 11:24 am
                          So you admit that ABVP retaliated . The retaliation was expulsion which was forced by Smriti and Bangaru. So in other words Smriti and Bangary, two central ministers were fighting for ABVP in college politics.
                          Reply
                          1. D
                            Deepak Singh
                            Jan 19, 2016 at 11:25 am
                            So you admit that ABVP retaliated . The retaliation was expulsion which was forced by Smriti and Bangaru. So in other words Smriti and Bangary, two central ministers were fighting for ABVP in college politics.
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                              ghanshyam
                              Jan 19, 2016 at 4:30 pm
                              Rightly, but reply what about ABVP and role of central minister. Why he interfered.
                              Reply
                              1. N
                                NArayan
                                Jan 19, 2016 at 9:02 am
                                Unfortunate incident. Those 5 students could have gone to court. But, maybe they did something which would blame them as well. There will be big talk that he was forced to take this step. But there should have been someone he could turn to for counselling you on what he need to do. When in a group or mob, there are more people inciting you than advising you. Below is something for anyone from lower caste wanting to commit suicide. I don't belong to an upper caste. I often find some of my fellow-caste members resorting to other activities than academics while studying. I strongly believe to bring about a change by proving that we are no less capable of upper castes. We don't need to have a chronic hatefulness for the upper castes, then how different are we? To some extent we have been provided by a level playing field to come up in life in terms of education and jobs. We have to make good use of it. Affiliation to a political organization should be secondary when it comes to academics. I believe none of our parents would want us to get involved in political activities and also in activities which would hamper our education. WE are only pawns in a political system. Why does all so called leaders of Dalits have only family members as their successors in their parties, but need us when it comes to fight on the streets? Lalu, MK, Cong,...list goes on. I wasnt selected for the cricket team in my school, the PT teacher from my caste selected his nephew who was not so good at cricket. Such discrimination is everywhere and we dont need to lose our lives over that. Heck, even musicians(intellectuals??) do it. Allah Rakha promoted only his sons, so did Amjad Ali Khan, it goes on. The only people who do not discriminate are our parents, but we never care for them. I am not sure if IE will post this or moderate, but it is sad if they dont allow this.
                                Reply
                                1. J
                                  jai
                                  Jan 21, 2016 at 7:31 pm
                                  S like you dont require meaning. what you need is some BEEF!
                                  Reply
                                  1. J
                                    jai
                                    Jan 21, 2016 at 7:29 pm
                                    you have no respect for others, may you be reborn as a rabid dog.
                                    Reply
                                    1. G
                                      George Cruz
                                      Jan 20, 2016 at 8:43 am
                                      The communal congress party has been dividing the people of India based on the religion/caste for the last 65 years and has to bear the responsibility of the communal disharmony and intolerance today. Now, these incompetent and illiterate dynastic leaders like Sonia hi and Rahul hi are raking these issues for their self interests/gains and not in the interests of the poor Dalits nor in the interests of the country. If a disgruntled/incompetent Dalit commits suicide because he couldn't keep up with research, or a Muslim commits terror act and kills many innocent people and given a death penalty the communal congress party puts the blame on the BJP. This Rahul hi up there raking this issue and blaming the BJP is stupid and uncalled for. Even the Christians who are blinded by their religion who blindly support the communal congress party for their self interests may have second thoughts this time.
                                      Reply
                                      1. T
                                        thistooshallpass
                                        Jan 19, 2016 at 10:29 am
                                        Shame shame HRD Ministry/ Vemula was gracious in death but the BJP is vindictive even after death.
                                        Reply
                                        1. K
                                          Kabir
                                          Jan 19, 2016 at 1:01 pm
                                          Why "union ministers" get involved in university feuds? Are we being ruled by morons? Cant the university profs just bring peace by talking to the students?
                                          Reply
                                          1. K
                                            kamath Ramesh
                                            Jan 19, 2016 at 10:27 am
                                            Our heart goes with the family of the student killed. The blame game has started. However if one read the suicide note it is heart touching and shows how emotional and sentimental he was. He may have been disturbed on various issues and wrong belief. One of this is his belief that he lands on stars and can visit all stars. He may have been peeved as somebody must have been using him much against his will. He may also have been sad on vote bank politics. It is difficult to say what has prompted him to suicide but surely not the letter of minister. Media is blowing this out of proportion sensationalizing the issue by showing the mourning family's glimpses repeatedly asking rubbish questions linking it to some minister, showing protest of political parties and their affiliates student bodies and thereby increase their own business under the guise of service to nation. They are just ignoring the deceased students last wish not to make issue out of it. it is nothing but scoring browny points by linking the death to a letter by a minister. The said letter written by a minister to HRD minister to university on the basis of a complaint, to look in to the matter of a ABVP leader having been beaten up by opposition union students to the extent he had to be hospitalized. The complaint was so serious that court had to ask the university what action has been taken on erring students. University suspends the belligerent students on its own wisdom and unfortunately one students kills himself. W media and political parties start blaming the minister for the letter linking it to suicide. It is just rubbish. If the minister had not written letter to university and again some scuffle takes place and some students die in the scuffle, again the blame would have been on minister for not acting in time despite having complaint. Nobody raised any question what would have happened if the student beaten up had died. It seems all have made up their mind that death of ABVP or BJP cadre is normal and they are born to die but if a small injury on others it is big intolerance.
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