Pulyala Samaiah, the father of Dalit student Pulyala Raju who committed suicide on March 19, 2013, feels the Hyderabad University and the HRD Ministry have not learnt any lessons. There has been national outrage over the suicide of Rohith Vemula, the Dalit research scholar at the university. Rohith, along with four other students, had been suspended by the university over an alleged assault on an ABVP student. An FIR in this regard was also filed against Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya who had alleged in a letter to the HRD ministry that ‘casteist and anti-national’ elements were creating trouble at the university.
“I thought suicides by Dalit students will end with the death of my son. Unfortunately, I had to come twice to University of Hyderabad after my son to attend two more funerals and stand in solidarity with Dalit students,” laments Pulyala Samiah.
Samaiah had come to the university on Friday morning to sit with the protesting students through the weekend.
“I did this when Madari Venkatesh committed suicide six months after my son on November 24, 2013. The HRD, the university and officials are not learning any lessons. After the furore following Venkatesh’s suicide, I thought at least now officials, lecturers and professors, VC and Administration staff will learn their lessons and they will ensure that poor Dalit students won’t be driven to hang themselves or take poison again. But it is unfortunate that one more young life has been lost in Rohith Vemula. I do not know any of the students sitting here on protest today but I have come all the way from Bhoopalapalli in Warangal district to sit with them because I understand what they are going through,” Samaiah, an employee of Singareni Colleries said.
He says the complaints of students and SC\ST Teachers and non-teaching staff are the same year after year.
“The number of families of dead victims feeling the need to express solidarity with protesting students is growing every year. Even parents like us with not much education understand that you cannot harass and push a student beyond a point. Officials here should consider the social and family backgrounds these youngsters come from and learn to show minimum sensitivity,” he says.
Samaiah decided not to let his younger son Ravi to take admission in UoH to do BEd.
“The circumstances and conditions here would have killed him too. I admitted him at Nizam College. He is now preparing to write state civil services exams and I keep him away from UoH,” he said.
On Friday, standing in front of a crowd of students, Samaiah made a poignant appeal to the University to show some compassion and sensitivity towards Dalit students and take steps to prevent more suicides.
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