Hyderabad: Rohith Vemula, a second-year research scholar of science, technology and society studies department, was found hanging from the ceiling of a room in New Research Scholars’ hostel on Sunday night. He was one of the five dalit scholars, who were expelled from the university.
25-year-old Rohith Vemula, who belonged to Guntur district of Amravati, was doing his PhD in science technology and society studies for the past two years, before the scholar allegedly got involved in a tiff between two student groups in August last year.
According to Cyberabad Police Commissioner CV Anand, the situation is now “fine” on the campus. Mild tension prevailed on the campus after scores of students gathered and held demonstration along with Rohit’s body and raised slogans last night.
Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and three others for abetment of suicide and also for violations of the SC/ST Atrocities Act following the suicide of a Dalit research scholar of the University of Hyderabad.
The complainant blamed Dattetreya for the suicide as he had written a letter to union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani, which led to suspension of Dalit students.
The cases under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code and also the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (prevention of atrocities) Act were filed in Gachibowli police station under Cyberabad police commissionerate limits.
University vice chancellor Appa Rao and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leaders Sushil Kumar and Vishnu have also been booked.
Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Smriti Irani has flatly refused to intervene and said, government has no role in this case, in central universities, the administrative responsibilities belong to the varsity itself. I offer my deep condolence to the family for their loss.
“We will have to wait for the reports to proceed the investigation, action will surely be taken against those who are responsible”, Smriti Irani said.
Earlier, Congress branded the Government as ‘anti-Dalit’ amid the ongoing uproar over the suicide by a Dalit scholar from the University of Hyderabad and demanded immediate removal of the varsity’s Vice-Chancellor.
“We have seen the oppression of Dalits in various states like Haryana and Rajasthan. The Congress has expressed its concern over the systematic oppression of Dalits and backward classes in India. The anti-Dalit mindset of the government was revealed in the last Union Budget where Rs. 19,000 crore outlay was cut in the SC sub plan,” Congress leader RPN Singh told the media here.
The five researchers were supported by 10 other students’ outfits on campus including ASA, Students Federation of India, Dalit Students Union and National Students Association among others. On Sunday, the students from each of the outfits had started relay hunger strike asking the university administration to take back the students all of whom hailed from backward socio-economic backgrounds.
The students protested against Union Cabinet Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya, and HRD minister Smiriti Irani. The students demanded the revoking of the suspension of the five Dalit research scholars and also demanded the apology of Dattatreya for interfering in University matters and branding students of University of Hyderabad as casteists, anti-nationals and extremists.
(With inputs from agencies)