Students from various varsities across Delhi who have been protesting over the alleged suicide by a Dalit research scholar in Hyderabad University say the decision to revoke suspension of four other students came “too late” and they will not call off their agitation.
Yielding to intense pressure, the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) today revoked the suspension of four Dalit students against whom action was taken along with another research scholar Rohith Vemula Chakravarthi, who allegedly committed suicide in his hostel room on January 17.
“Can revoking of suspension bring back Rohit’s life? Why was this not done earlier when the issue was raised? We will continue with the agitation till our demands are met which include action against the Vice Chancellor and resignation of the two Union ministers,” said Shehla Rashid Shora, secretary JNU Students Union, who was in Hyderabad along with a two-member delegation.
DU professor, Abha Dev Habib, said “This hooliganism on campuses has to stop. The government or the university can’t do damage control just by revoking the suspension. We demand that the Vice Chancellor be penalised for this and his accountability should be defined”.
“Rohith was institutionally murdered and the HRD ministry played a key role in creating such situation. There has to be a judicial inquiry into the casteist attack on Dalit students by Hyderabad university and the Vice Chancellor needs to be expelled.
“We won’t call off protests till the demands are met,” alleged Aman Nawaz of left-backed All India Students Association (AISA).
The Congress-affiliated National Students Union of India (NSUI), CPI-M’s Student Federation of India (SFI), Democratic Student Foundation (DSF), independent groups Krantikari Yuva Sangathan and Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch, also said the protests will continue.
Earlier in the day, several protests were held by the students in the national capital, following which 20 demonstrators were detained.
The students were protesting in front of HRD ministry and when the agitation escalated 20 of them were detained, a senior police official said.
Similar protests were held at Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia where effigies of Smriti Irani were burnt amid shouting of slogans.
Twenty-six-year-old Rohith Vemula, a PhD scholar, was found hanging in a room at the Central University’s hostel on Sunday.
He was among five research scholars who were suspended by Hyderabad Central University (HCU) in August last year and also one of the accused in the case of assault on an ABVP leader. They were also kept out of the hostel. The suspension was revoked later.
Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor were named in the FIR over the death of the scholar, which triggered massive protests and demands for their removal from their posts.
The revocation decision was taken at a meeting of the Executive Council of the HCU, on a day the stir gained further political heat and the protesting students resolved to step up their campaign for justice by enlisting support from campuses across the country.