Hyderabad: Hyderabad Central University on Thursday terminated the punishment of four Dalit students who along with Rohith Vemula were suspended on August 5 for allegedly assaulting ABVP leader N Susheel Kumar.
Rohith hanged himself on Sunday, following which there have been massive protests in Hyderabad and other cities. The protesters and opposition parties allege that the five Dalit students faced caste discrimination.
Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya had written a letter to the HRD Minister in August urging action and claiming that the “Hyderabad University… has in the recent past, become a den of casteist, extremist and anti-national politics”.
He cited the attack on the ABVP leader and stated that the university administration had turned into “a mute spectator to such events.”
Read: HCU suicide: Prof had asked Rohith Vemula if ‘Dalit’ got him grant
Students of the university alleged that Dattatreya’s letter sought action against research scholars including Vemula. They demanded that the police register a case under SC/ST Atrocity Act against Dattatreya.
The suspension of the four dalit students was revoked on Thursday.The suspension of the four Dalit students was revoked on Thursday.
The termination of the suspension comes after ten professors belonging to SC/ST community resigned from administrative posts in the University of Hyderabad (UoH), in response to the ‘fabricated statements’ by Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani over Rohith Vemula’s suicide.
Read: HCU suicide: 10 professors resign from administrative posts, slam Smriti Irani
“In response to the Honourable Minister’s (Smriti Irani) fabricated statements, we the Dalit (SC/ST) faculty and officers lay down our administrative positions” said a press statement by UoH SC/ST Teachers and Officers Forum.
“We express our solidarity with students who are protesting against the death of Rohith Vemula and demand the immediate revocation of suspension and removal of police cases filed against our students,” it added.
The press release further stated, “It (sub-committee of executive council) was headed by an upper caste professor Vipin Srivastava and there are no Dalit faculty member in the sub-committee.”
Read: ABVP activist Susheel Kumar mom cried wolf
“It was headed by an upper caste professor and there are no Dalit faculties in this subcommittee. Incidentally, the dean of student welfare who happens to be a Dalit was notionally co-opted an ex-officio member of the committee. It is unfortunate that since its inception, no Dalit representation has been given in this council,” it said
On Wednesday, Irani termed the ongoing protest on Vemula’s suicide as ‘malicious’ the attempt to ‘project it as a caste battle’.
Read: Hyderabad scholar death: Don’t instigate students, says Smriti Irani
“This is not a Dalit versus non- Dalit issue as being projected by some to ignite passion,” Irani told a press conference, while rejecting allegations that her Ministry had put pressure on the University to suspend Vemula.
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