Rohith suicide case: VC on leave, stand-in is man who punished Dalit students

University students have been protesting for days against Appa Rao, whose name is also mentioned in the police complaint.

Written by Ritika Chopra , Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad/new Delhi | Updated: February 1, 2016 2:08 pm
Rohith Vemula, Rohit vemula suicide, Hyderabad University, hyderabad suicide, hyderabad university suicide, hyderabad university vc, Appa Rao, Dalit student death, hyderabad news, india news Students staging a protest against the suicide of a Dalit scholar in a Hyderabad Central University, in Mumbai. (PTI Photo)

In a decision that has outraged the protesting Dalit students and teachers, the Hyderabad University on Sunday appointed Prof Dr Vipin Srivastava to head the institution in place of Vice-Chancellor Prof P Appa Rao who went on leave.

The university also stated that its order suspending the five Dalit students, including Rohith Vemula who committed suicide on January 18, for allegedly assaulting an ABVP leader last year “stands withdrawn”.

Prof Srivastava, from the Department of Physics, was the chairman of the committee that recommended punishment for the five students. The protesting students also claimed that he had earlier faced allegations of having harassed a Dalit student from Salem, Senthil Kumar, a research scholar at the physics department who committed suicide in 2008.

 

READ: Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula: The student, the leader

“Regular V-C Prof P Appa Rao is on leave for a few days and as senior-most professor, Dr Vipin Srivastava has been appointed in-charge,’’ said Registrar M Sudhakar.

Sources told The Indian Express that V-C Prof Rao’s decision to go on leave was taken after the administration’s bid to close the institution indefinitely failed.

READ: Rohith Vemula suicide: JNU students begin indefinite hunger strike

According to sources, the university’s Executive Council (EC) held an emergency meeting on Saturday and approved the proposal to close the institution “sine dine”.

This, the EC members felt, could calm rising tempers on campus. However, the decision, which was also supported by senior faculty members, could not be executed after the state police reportedly advised against it.

 

VC

“Closing the university would mean the police would have to move the protesting students out of the campus. They (police) didn’t think it was advisable,” said a senior professor, who did not wish to be identified. It was then that the V-C decided to go on leave for a few days to help put an end to the agitation, said sources.

However, grounds are being prepared to make the V-C resign if the protests continue. “He could step down in a week to ten days if nothing improves,” said a source close to Prof Rao.

 

READ: Don’t want your Rs 8 lakh or Rs 8 crore… Tell me why my son died

The Indian Express had first reported on January 23 that the HRD Ministry is reportedly unhappy with the V-C for mishandling the situation and “forcing the government to firefight on his behalf”. The report of the two-member fact finding committee had also stated that the university should have handled the incident of “student indiscipline” more “sensitively”.

In Hyderabad, representatives of the protesting students and teachers described the appointment of Prof Srivastava as “outrageous”. “They have appointed Dr Srivastava as in-charge who himself was involved in punishing the five students. We oppose this move and reject it outright,’’ said Sannaki Munna, a member of the ASA.

“We do not know for how long Prof Rao will be on leave or whether he will be back at his job or not, but the appointment of Dr Srivastava is even more outrageous. He was responsible for punishing the Dalit students.’’ said a senior member of the university’s SC/ST teachers association.

In the other order issued today, the Registrar stated, “The order imposing punishment on the students stands withdrawn subject to the verdict of the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad writ petitions and FIR registered at the Gachibowli police station.’’

At the protest venue, meanwhile, a new batch of seven students started an indefinite fast after the first batch of seven were evacuated to the university’s health centre late on Saturday evening. “Hundreds of students are ready to undertake the hunger strike until V-C Rao is removed from his post. If one batch of fasting students is removed, the next batch will take over,’’ said ASA’s Munna.

Sources said the protest is likely to spread to Osmania University, which was the centre of the Telangana movement, and the English and Foreign Languages University.

Watch video: Delhi Police’s brutality on protesting students outside RSS head quarters

On Monday, several prominent activists, academicians and intellectuals are expected to address the protesting students under the banner ‘Chalo UoH?Justice for Rohith Vemula’. The speakers will include Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar, said sources, adding that efforts are also on to invite author Arundhati Roy. They added that students from central universities in over 15 states have conveyed to the protesting students that they will hold protest marches on Monday in their respective campuses to express solidarity.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the HRD Ministry has appointed Dr. Vipin Srivastava to head Hyderabad Central University in place of Professor P Appa Rao who went on leave on Sunday. The appointment was made by university authorities and not the government. We regret the error. 

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First Published on: January 25, 2016 2:45 am
  1. A
    Aryan
    Jan 24, 2016 at 5:40 pm
    Hey Islamic terrorist don't spread your venom here and make Hindus are soft target.. If you have guts then spread your venom against USA........ You sounds like son of child molester Mohammad.. Peace not be upon him...
    Reply
    1. A
      Aryan
      Jan 24, 2016 at 5:51 pm
      Hey Islamic terrorist don't terrorize non muslin society..if you want to beheaded and You have guts say something against child molester Mohammad... You sounds like son of child molester Mohammad... Peace not be upon him...
      Reply
      1. A
        Aryan
        Jan 24, 2016 at 6:47 pm
        I don't need peace advice from terrorist like you... When you are not able to bring peace in your society then how come you are advising non Muslims... You sounds like son of child molester Mohammad... Peace not be upon him...
        Reply
        1. A
          Aryan
          Jan 24, 2016 at 7:33 pm
          I have two names one is bhim and another one is Aryan... You can read it bhim instead....being a daughter of child mmolester Mohammad you are the best in doing sectarian politics...
          Reply
          1. A
            Aryan
            Jan 24, 2016 at 7:01 pm
            My nephew not gonna be Islamic terrorist like you.... You are crying fool here for non Muslims...
            Reply
            1. A
              Aryan
              Jan 25, 2016 at 1:18 am
              Thruth always hurt people like you... Accept the fact, this is what Brahmins are saying in temple...
              Reply
              1. A
                Aryan
                Jan 25, 2016 at 1:23 am
                You can't be a Brahmin by birth.. When you have knowledge of God then you can be a Brahmin only.... By getting knowledge of God any one can be a Brahmin including Dalits...
                Reply
                1. F
                  FekuSarkar
                  Jan 24, 2016 at 10:01 pm
                  All Brainwashed Sena of RSS here to protect Meaty Irani (illiterate fake degree holder), Jai Bhim, Jai Dalit.... Brahmin murdabad, moody murdabad
                  Reply
                  1. F
                    FekuSarkar
                    Jan 24, 2016 at 6:31 pm
                    Aryan, why do u indians have to resort to writing negatives??? Come n fight with facts!! :))
                    Reply
                    1. F
                      FekuSarkar
                      Jan 24, 2016 at 6:01 pm
                      Btw, BJP and RSS wants to abolish reservation!! The speaker told today to IE news, see other article
                      Reply
                      1. F
                        FekuSarkar
                        Jan 24, 2016 at 7:04 pm
                        Counter, urm well countdown not up!! for Moody 😞 The Ultimate Feku has begun.....!!!!!
                        Reply
                        1. F
                          FekuSarkar
                          Jan 24, 2016 at 6:32 pm
                          Feku conutdown Suru....... Bure dino ki ghanti!!!!
                          Reply
                          1. F
                            FekuSarkar
                            Jan 24, 2016 at 8:59 pm
                            Feku is going go abolish reservation and then RSS dictatorship begins!!
                            Reply
                            1. F
                              FekuSarkar
                              Jan 24, 2016 at 6:34 pm
                              Good, ab bhanja Dalit hoga, so fight against Feku, who want to remove reservation!!
                              Reply
                              1. F
                                FekuSarkar
                                Jan 24, 2016 at 6:00 pm
                                I am here, i can see and hear everything!!! FEKU COUNTDOWN Started!!! BURE din chalu!!!
                                Reply
                                1. F
                                  FekuSarkar
                                  Jan 24, 2016 at 6:27 pm
                                  I do hope you have some peace... As u seem disturbed!! Who would say such evil in right frame of mind??
                                  Reply
                                  1. F
                                    FekuSarkar
                                    Jan 24, 2016 at 9:59 pm
                                    Jai Bhim FEKU moody😞 murdabad
                                    Reply
                                    1. F
                                      FekuSarkar
                                      Jan 24, 2016 at 9:19 pm
                                      Jai Bhim!!! Feku murdabad!!
                                      Reply
                                      1. F
                                        FekuSarkar
                                        Jan 24, 2016 at 8:36 pm
                                        Jai dalit?? Just give us jobs, we have been enslaved enough by upper cast hindus like brahmins.... N hands off our reservation!!
                                        Reply
                                        1. F
                                          FekuSarkar
                                          Jan 24, 2016 at 5:18 pm
                                          Modi (feku) ki HRD mistress Smriti (fek degree wali) ko hatao, desh bachao...
                                          Reply
                                          1. F
                                            FekuSarkar
                                            Jan 24, 2016 at 6:35 pm
                                            Modi is feku, he is Patel!!
                                            Reply
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