Suspension revokes but the storm intensifies
Hyderabad : The storm over the suicide of a dalit student in Hyderabad University intensified today despite the revocation of the suspension of four of his co-research scholars as the Controller of Examinations and 12 other faulty members belonging to SC/ST communities gave up their administrative posts in solidarity.
Wilting under relentless pressure from the students agitating for the removal of the Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and punishment for those responsible for the suicide of Rohith Vemula, the varsity Executive Council met and decided to “terminate” the punishment imposed on the students.
But the protesting students were not satisfied with the revocation of the suspension and burnt copies of the EC decision.
In solidarity with the students, the Controller of Examinations, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Warden were among the 13 faculty members belonging to SC-ST communities who gave up their administrative posts which they were holding as an additional responsibility.
Vijaya Kumar, one of the students, whose suspension was revoked, said this was not enough.
“The VC must go. This (revocation) is a welcome decision. But we can’t celebrate it because Rohith is not there. We are not able to accept your decision. We have other demands like appropriate compensation and a job for one of the members of Rohith’s family.”
University Dean Prakash Babu said the revocation of suspension is the first step that is subject to proceedings in the High Court and appealed to the students to accept the decision saying more announcements will follow on issues like the compensation.
“The VC will meet the students action committee and talk to them. The primary demand was revocation of the suspension and they should accept it,” he said.
Earlier, members of Dalit (SC/ST) faculty of Hyderabad University said in a statement that it is unfortunate that the HRD Minister Smriti Irani “misrepresented” the facts of the case by stating that the senior most dalit professor actually headed the executive council sub-committee which took the decision to suspend the students, while it was headed by an “upper caste” Professor Vipin Srivastava.
“Such a baseless and misleading statement coming from Honourable Minister of HRD amounts to bringing down the morale of the Dalits holding administrative positions in this university as well as other universities…In response to the Honourable Minister’s fabricated statements, we the Dalit (SC/ST) faculty and officers will lay down our administrative positions,” the statement said.
When contacted, a senior faculty member told PTI, “We (faculty and other officials) are going to give up our administrative posts if the minister doesn’t correct her statement.”
The faculty body further said that it is unfortunate that since its inception, no Dalit representation has been given in the Executive Council of University of Hyderabad.
They said it was just a coincidence that the chief warden was a Dalit and he only implemented the orders of the higher authorities that proclaimed of suspension of five students, including Rohith.
“By deflecting this issue, the Honourable HRD Minister is absolving herself and the Honourable Minister Bandaru Dattatreya from being responsible for the death of Rohith Vemula,” the teachers’ body alleged.