University of Hyderabad students are set to intensify their protest over suicide of a Dalit research scholar even as the administration claimed Friday that all departments have resumed functioning.
“All schools, departments and centres are functioning from today,” university registrar M. Sudhakar told IANS.
He said all the departments and schools started conducting classes, saying this was a major step towards restoration of normalcy.
“Only the administration block was closed,” the registrar said.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) for social justice shut down the administrative block demanding immediate resignation of Vipin Srivastvata from the post of interim vice chancellor and removal of P. Appa Rao from the post of vice chancellor, holding them responsible for Rohith Vemula’s suicide.
The JAC, an umbrella grouping of 14 students’ groups, claimed that the faculty members and students responded to its appeal to boycott the classes and joined the protest.
Tension prevailed at life sciences block when a group of students and some faculty members, who wanted classes to resume, had heated argument with JAC leaders. Donatha Prasanth, one of the four suspended Dalit students, appealed to students to show unity by joining the protest.
JAC condemned what it called attempts by the administration to create rift among students, faculty members and other staff as it continued its protest for a 12th consecutive day, demanding action against those responsible for the suicide. Three faculty members sat on hunger strike as a mark of solidarity with the students.
JAC announced that a candle light vigil will be organised on Friday night to mark birth anniversary of Rohith. Four “socially boycotted” and suspended students will also sit on indefinite strike from midnight.
It called for students in all universities across India to Gave a call for organizing the vigil across the country.
The student’s groups also gave a call for “chalo Delhi” to press its demand for justice in Rohith case. The students will start for Delhi on February 2. They will march from Mandi House to ministry of human resources development on February 4. The next day a protest meet will be organize at Jantar Mantar and they will seek appointment to meet President Pranab Mukherjee.
JAC also launched “postcard to the president” campaign. Students, faculty, workers and all concerned individuals on campus and across the country will send post cards to the president to demand justice for Rohith.
Terming Rohith’s suicide an “institutional murder”, the JAC demanded immediate action against those already booked for abetment of suicide and for violation of Schedule Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
A JAC statement said while five people including the vice chancellor and central minister Bandaru Dattatreya were booked, the accused remained scot free. It said Appa Rao even left India for his research.
Meanwhile, some students of Osmania University were arrested by police when they tried to stage a protest at the office of Telangana chief minister to demand justice for Rohith.