By Manira Chaudhary:
The air is abuzz with chants of “We want justice! We want justice!” as hundreds of students along with many faculty members sit in protest, demanding strict action against the Vice Chancellor of Hyderabad University, MoS Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya and some students of ABVP.
What has followed Rohith Vemula’s suicide, is an intensification of protests throughout the country and has sparked off a series of politically motivated moves and statements. The University was forced to revoke the suspension of the other four Dalit students, buckling under pressure and national media glare. The students, however, have refused to end the strike and continue to demand the Vice Chancellor’s resignation. Around the same time, 10 Dalit professors from the University resigned in protest of Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s statement refuting the role caste identity had to play in the incident.
On 23rd of January, in a move made very evidently to pacify the Dalit community, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, but his statements on Vemula’s death received flak from various sections. On the same day, seven students who have been on hunger strike since Vemula’s death were taken to the hospital and another set of seven students took their place to continue the agitation.
The Union HRD Ministry has now set up a judicial commission to probe the circumstances which led to Vemula’s suicide, which will submit its report in three months.
The following video, uploaded by YouTube channel ‘Justice for Rohith UoH’, shows one of the five expelled Dalit scholars Dontha Prashanth, also the elected President of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA), recounting various incidents of discrimination against Dalit students across the country and raising some pertinent questions regarding the progression of the enquiry.
To watch more, head to Justice For Rohith UoH
Take campus conversations to the next level. Become a YKA Campus Correspondent today! Sign up here.
You can also subscribe to the Campus Watch Newsletter, here.