Question marks are being raised about the alleged assault of an ABVP leader at the centre of the row over the suspension of five Dalit students, including Rohith Vemula who committed suicide last Sunday, at the University of Hyderabad.
Last August, ABVP leader Nandanam Susheel Kumar alleged he was assaulted by members of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) in his hostel room. But the report of Archana Hospital in Madinaguda where he was admitted by his brother Vishnu Kumar on August 4 “with alleged history of assault” states he was operated upon for acute appendicitis on August 7.
Dr Anupama Rao, Senior Medical Officer of the University of Hyderabad who, along with then Vice Chancellor R P Sharma, visited Susheel Kumar on
August 8 — a day after the surgery — told The Indian Express Tuesday: “After collecting all the medical reports of Susheel Kumar and examining them, I could not reach the conclusion that he developed appendicitis due to the alleged assault. There was one line that there was a bruise on his left shoulder. I could not say if he was allegedly punched or beaten up. I did not examine him as he did not come to me and the hospital’s report does not mention that he had any external or visible injury.”
According to Dr Rao, the resident doctor and general physician at the hospital said they could not conclusively establish if the appendicitis deteriorated after Susheel Kumar was allegedly punched.
Dr Chenna Reddy, general physician at the Archana Hospital, said in his report: “26-year-old male admitted with alleged history of assault at 2.30 am on August 4. Complains of pain in abdomen and SOB (shortness of breath). Patient managed conservatively for two days in hospital. Suddenly, patient complained of severe abdomen pain in right iliac fossa with history of loose stool.
USG abdomen taken on August 7 show acute appendicitis. PAC and surgical profile done, patient taken up for surgery. Diagnostic Lap and Appendectomy done under GA on August 7. Patient improved well and discharged with stable vitals.”
Dr Rao said the first question she asked Susheel Kumar was why he did not go to the 24×7 University Health Centre if he was feeling unwell after being allegedly punched in the abdomen.
“I asked him that question as it was past midnight when the incident happened and the nearest hospital was the campus health centre. He said that the ASA students did not allow him to go towards the health centre. He also said that fearing another assault, he had fled outside the campus from where he called his brother who came to pick him up and admit to hospital,” Dr Rao said.
“That night may be he felt unwell after the incident that is why he had to visit the hospital. Hospital records also show he complained of nausea, difficulty in breathing, and abdomen pain when he was admitted. Much later, we came to know that he also had appendicitis,” she said.
Duty Security Officer (DSO) Dilip Singh, who was the first to reach Susheel’s hostel room that night after receiving a call, said in his report that when he reached the spot, he saw ASA cadres and Susheel Kumar in a discussion.
“I did not see ASA members beating Susheel. At least it did not happen in front of me. Susheel agreed to give an apology letter and also apologise on FB (Facebook). We all proceeded to the security office where the matter could be settled. When Susheel was in the security jeep, some ASA members tried to pull him out during which the bruise on his left shoulder may have occurred and his shirt was torn,” Singh said.
Based on the reports by Dr Rao and Singh, the proctorial board first recommended that five students of ASA, including Rohith Vemula, be given strict warning not to indulge in such behaviour, and a warning to Susheel Kumar to desist from posting inflammatory comments.
On August 3,1 the proctorial board changed its stand and, based on Dr Rao’s report and statement of Susheel Kumar, it recommended suspension of Rohith Vemula, Dontha Prashanth, P Vijay Kumar, Sheshu Chemudugunta, and Velmula Sunkanna.