Dalit student’s suicide: Outrage on Hyderabad campus and elsewhere

From violence on the Hyderabad campus to demonstrations in Delhi to a hunger strike at Pune’s Film and Television Institute of India, protests against Rohith Vemula’s suicide broke out in many cities

Hyderabad | Updated: January 20, 2016 5:41 am
rahul gandhi, Hyderabad Central University, dalit, dalit suicide, rohith vemula, Smriti irani, outrage in hyderabad, dalit letter, rohith suicide letter Rahul Gandhi at Hyderabad Central University, where he targeted ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani for Rohith’s suicide. (Photo by Harsha Vadlamani)

Rahul reaches varsity, targets VC and ‘minister in Delhi’ for suicide

By: Sreenivas Janyala

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi arrived Tuesday afternoon at Hyderabad Central University where Dalit research student Rohith Vemula, who had been suspended, committed suicide Sunday evening. Rahul attacked vice-chancellor Prof P Appa Rao as well as a “minister in New Delhi”, without naming either HRD Minister Smriti Irani or MoS for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya, who has been named in the FIR on abetment to suicide.

“The conditions for Rohith to commit suicide were created by the VC and the minister in New Delhi. The VC has no merit to continue in his post,” Rahul said. “Whether it is suicide or accident or illness, when a student dies, the man in-charge of this institution has to show the bare minimum respect and courtesy and go and meet the family. The VC has shown no decency to even meet Rohith’s mother. It is an insult to this institution and its students.”

Read complete story: Rahul Gandhi calls for strict punishment for those responsible for Rohith Vemula’s suicide

Hunger strike at FTII, demonstrations in Delhi

By: Aranya Shankar & Sreenivas Janyala

On the Hyderabad Central University campus, Telangana BJP spokesperson Prakash Reddy was allegedly attacked by protesters. Reddy was leaving the campus when students surrounded him. In the confrontation, his car’s windshield was broken but the BJP leader was unhurt.

At FTII in Pune, students sat on a daylong hunger strike outside the gate in solidarity with the protesting students in Hyderabad. The hunger strike started with eight students and more joined later. Terming the death an “institutional murder”, the protesters demanded a probe.

In New Delhi, the All India Students’ Association (AISA), NSUI, and AAP’s student wing held demonstrations. AISA burnt an effigy of Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and held a candlelight demonstration at Jantar Mantar. The NSUI marched to the HRD Ministry where some of its activists were detained. AAP and its Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti protested at Jantar Mantar, where leaders including Ashutosh, Dilip Pandey and Rakhi Birla spoke. AAP has declared January 21 an all-India protest day and will submit a memorandum to the President asking for Dattatreya’s resignation.

Read complete story: Hunger strike at FTII, demonstrations in Delhi

At JNU, students exercise freedom of expression: VC

By: Aranya Shankar

Jawaharlal Nehru University vice chancellor S K Sopory has called the suicide of Hyderabad Central University research scholar Rohith Vemula “unfortunate”. At a press interaction ahead of his retirement, he was asked about JNU students holding several movements during his term and the current protest against the Dalit scholar’s suicide.

Sopory said, “Students here (at JNU) are aware of the freedom of expression and they exercise it.” About the Hyderabad incident, he told The Indian Express, “I hadn’t followed this before the incident… It’s unfortunate and I wish this could have been resolved at the university level before a student had to commit suicide.” He refused to comment on Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya and HCU vice chancellor Appa Rao being booked.

Read complete story: At JNU, students exercise freedom of expression: VC 

Scholars world over take note of discrimination in India 

By: Kedar Nagarajan

A group of 129 scholars from universities across the world have written to Hyderabad Central University demanding the reinstatement of the four students suspended along with Rohith Vemula, who went on to commit suicide.

The scholars’ institutes include Germany’s University of Goettingen and Max Planck Institute and various universities in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Denmark, South Africa and Singapore. They were studying various subjects, according to the list of signatories.

Read complete story: Scholars world over take note of discrimination in India

As Ambedkar Association grew, so did its assertiveness 

By: Sreenivas Janyala

Hyderabad Central University’s Ambedkar Students Association, to which deceased scholar Rohith Vemula belonged, began in 1993 with 10 or 15 members and went on to grow to a strength just short of 800 by 2015. As its influence grew, so did the assertiveness of its members. The small group formed ASA after the Mandal agitation, a time when Dalits and students of marginalised communities at University of Hyderabad had started complaining about oppression by upper-caste members of faculty and student organisations such as NSUI and ABVP.

The small group formed ASA after the Mandal agitation, a time when Dalits and students of marginalised communities at University of Hyderabad had started complaining about oppression by upper-caste members of faculty and student organisations such as NSUI and ABVP.

Read complete story: As Ambedkar Association grew, so did its assertiveness 

Dalit student suicide: Poet Ashok Vajpeyi returns D Litt he got from Hyderabad

By: Ashutosh Bhardwaj

Veteran Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi has returned his D Litt from Hyderabad Central University in protest against the events leading to the suicide of research scholar Rohith Vemula. Vajpeyi said, “A Dalit student wanted to be a writer, but he was forced to commit suicide due to anti-Dalit policies. This is intolerance of another kind. I am returning the award in protest against the university authorities, who it seemed acted under political pressure.”

Read complete story:  Dalit student suicide: Poet Ashok Vajpeyi returns D Litt he got from Hyderabad Central University