ROHITH VEMULA’S mother Radhika and brother Raja Chaitanya, along with eight others , were taken into preventive custody by Cyberabad Police late Tuesday evening for allegedly disturbing law and order on the University of Hyderabad (UoH) campus and were later released. They, along with dozens of students and others calling for action in the Vemula death case, had gone to UoH to attend a programme to mark the first anniversary of Vemula’s death. The organisers marked the day as Rohith Vemula Shahadath Din (martyrdom day).
Before they were let off, Raja Chaitanya told The Indian Express over phone, “After we entered the university we were not allowed to garland Rohith’s statue. We were detained when we proceeded towards the statue.” Among the students detained were Kavyasree Raghunathan of Ambedkar Students Association, of which Vemula was a member, and Vijay Kumar Pedapudi, one of the Dalit PhD scholars suspended along with Vemula.
Earlier in the day, denied entry into the UoH campus, Radhika Vemula lashed out at the police personnel: “I have come to garland my son’s statue in the university, why are you stopping me? We are not the kind who will incite violence.” As police said only Radhika and Raja Chaitanya would be let in, protesters outside the main gate, joined by ASA members inside, got into a verbal showdown with police. The protesters shouted slogans against UoH Vice-Chancellor P Appa Rao, the RSS, ABVP, and Hindutva politics.
After Radhika, her son and others were taken into preventive custody, angry students burnt the effigy of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao and raised slogans against the police.