Dhonta Prashanth, 26, one of the five students who was suspended broke down on Friday while discussing the further course of action with members of Students Joint Action Committee of University of Hyderabad. “Nothing…nothing,” he said trying to put up a brave face with tears streaming down, and walking away from the group to stand alone.
Telangana Joint Action Committee co-chair Mallepalli Lakshmaiah grabbed Prashanth, hugged him and consoled him. “We are there with you. We will stand with you and we will go through this together. Don’t get disheartened,” Lakshmaiah told Prashanth who could not control his tears and just nodded.
“Tell me what are you thinking, what is going on in your mind,” another TJAC member asked Prashanth. “Nothing, sir, nothing. Nobody will understand,”
Prashanth said, and walked back to the protest venue. Lakshmaiah said the four suspended Dalit students should be given counselling by a professional.
Even as politicians and representatives of all parties and student organisations make a beeline to the protest venue and hundreds of students are sitting here, the four suspended students feel isolated and dejected.
Their closest friend Rohith Vemula is no more. “The University circular of Thursday terminated their punishment but it maintained that the decision was subject to the verdict of the court case and the investigation by police.
“The initial anger has given way to feelings of guilt and dejection. They are going through tense moments now. As they are spending 18 to 20 hours at the protest venue they are reminded of Rohith every moment. We are watching them. They are very vulnerable and should not be left alone,” Chief Medical Officer Captain Dr Ravindra Kumar who counselled Prashanth today morning.
Dr Kumar has also sought the services of a professional psychiatrist from outside the university on his own and unofficially. “We have told the peer group of these students and members of Students JAC to keep a watch on them and not let them out of sight or let them go anywhere alone,” Dr Kumar said. The four students Velmula Sankanna, P Vijay Kumar, Seshaih Chemadagunta, Dhonta Prashanth, will be given counselling today afternoon again to keep up their morale and prevent them from doing anything to themselves.
Friday morning the high-pitched protest quietened down considerably. The mics are silent for lengthy periods as everyone has come, said and gone. Only the students are left now to discuss what they should do.
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