Agitating students firm up demand for VC’s removal

RSTV Bureau
Guwahati: Members of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) light candles at a protest in Guwahati on Thursday over the suicide of student Rohith Vemula at University of Hyderabad. Photo - PTI

Guwahati: Members of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) light candles at a protest in Guwahati on Thursday over the suicide of student Rohith Vemula at University of Hyderabad.
Photo – PTI

The agitating students at Hyderabad Central University (HCU) have rejected the varsity authorities’ appeal for normalcy following the revocation of suspension of four Dalit scholars, who were suspended along with late Rohith Vemula. Rejecting the appeal made by the varsity Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao Podile on Thursday, students demanded the removal of Vice Chancellor and swift legal action against all the accused name in the FIR filed after Rohith committed suicide on Sunday. Union Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya along with VC and three others are named in the FIR.

Along with protesting students and their Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, the University of Hyderabad Teachers’ Association also rejected VC Appa Rao’s appeal to restart the classes and restore normalcy.

“We outrightly reject this illegitimate circular since it came through a Committee headed by the VC, who in our opinion is not the legitimate VC anymore, but in fact a criminal on the run,” the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice alleged in a statement.

“Rao should immediately surrender to police,” the statement by the protesting students further read.

The VC had issued an appeal late on Thursday after the varsity authorities announced their decision to revoke the suspension of four students.

“It is once again fervently appealed to all in the University to contribute to resuming regular class work, research activities and administrative work without further delay. I would also greatly appreciate all the teachers, students, officers and supporting staff in rising to the occasion,” the statement issued by VC’s office read.

Mumbai: Students in Mumbai staging a protest against the suicide of a Dalit scholar in a Hyderabad Central University. Photo - PTI

Mumbai: Students in Mumbai staging a protest against the suicide of a Dalit scholar in a Hyderabad Central University.
Photo – PTI

In his statement, the Vice Chancellor also said that observations and suggestions from all the teachers will be taken forward to resolve the matter fully.

“I profusely thank the University of Hyderabad Teachers’ Association (UHTA), members of the SC/ST Teachers’ Forum and all other individuals who have reached out to resolve the matter,” he said.

The UHTA, however, denied it had reached out to the varsity.

“We take objection to some of the statements made in the appeal…UHTA did not offer its services neither it has the authority to resolve the situation,” it said in a resolution.

The SC/ST faculty members too said they had not offered services to the VC, nor did they have the authority to resolve the situation on the campus. On Thursday, 13 faculty members belonging to Dalit community had decided to step down from their administrative positions expressing solidarity with the agitating students.

As per the latest reports, seven members of the Joint Action Committee are on an indefinite hunger strike seeking the demands be met.

“It has been more than 72 hours that the FIR has been filed against Bandaru Dattatreya, VC Appa Rao, BJP MLC Ramchander Rao and others. Why is Telangana police not arresting the culprits who are booked under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and for the abetment of suicide of Rohith?” the statement from Joint Action Committee for Social Justice read blaming the police.

Meanwhile, the letter purportedly written by Rohith Vemula, before he committed suicide, has been sent to the forensic lab for analysis.

“The letter was sent to forensic lab for handwriting match and other analysis. It would take a few days to get the report,” police official told the news agency in Hyderabad.

(With inputs from the PTI)