Dalit student suicide: FTII students sit on hunger strike
Pune : Expressing “solidarity” with students protesting over alleged suicide by a dalit scholar in Hyderabad, the students of FTII today sat on a day-long hunger strike outside the institute’s gate here.
“We are in solidarity with students protesting the death of Rohit Vemula, and as many as eight students from the Film & Television Institute of India have sat on hunger strike for a day,” FTII Students’ Association president Harishankar Nachimuthu said.
The hunger strike started with eight students and slowly other students too are joining the protest, he said.
Another students’ body representative Yashaswi Mishra said, “We feel that the unfortunate incidents like death of Rohit Vemula is an institutional murder. The very ideology that led to this devastating tragedy has to be fought across. We stand together with the students’ community fighting for quality of education, beyond caste, class and biases.”
“We condemn the government’s attempts to suppress and crush voices of disagreement, and at this hour of crisis stand together with the larger student fraternity,” he added.
Notably, the FTII students had last year held a 139-day-long strike to protest the appointment of TV actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan as the institute’s chairman.
The Hyderabad University campus yesterday witnessed widespread protests after dalit student Rohit Vemula’s body was found hanging in a hostel room on Sunday.
Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and three others were yesterday named in an FIR lodged with the Cyberabad police over the alleged suicide of the dalit student.
The issue took a political turn with allegations that the extreme action was a result of discrimination against dalit students at the behest of Dattatreya, who had written a letter to HRD Minister Smriti Irani, seeking action against their “anti-national acts”.
Rohit Vemula was among the five research scholars who were suspended by the university in August last year and also one of the accused in the case of assault on a student leader.