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Scholar suicide: Fresh protests in Delhi, 60 students detained

Students protest against HRD ministry

New Delhi : Protesting the alleged “delay in justice” to Hyderabad university research scholar, scores of students from varsities across Delhi today once again marched to the HRD Ministry where 60 of them were detained by Delhi police.

According to police, due to security concerns, around 60 students were detained from outside Shastri Bhawan and taken to Parliament Street police station.

“Every time we try to go to the Ministry and raise our demands with HRD Minister Smriti Irani, we are held back and detained by police. Protesting is a basic right. We can’t be denied that at a time when the government is trying to cover up ‘institutional murder’,” JNU Students Union vice president Shehla Rashid Shora said.

Members of Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS) and Left-backed All India Students Association (AISA) were also part of the protesters.

“We are protesting against the delay in justice to the student who had to end his life due to the harassment by the institution. Who will be held accountable for similar such suicides in varsities across country which go unreported?” Sucheta De from AISA, asked.

The protests over the issue have been rocking the national capital since last week, with three JNU students sitting on an indefinite hunger strike since Sunday.

26-year-old Rohit Vemula, a Dalit PhD scholar, was found hanging at Hyderabad Central University’s hostel room on January 17.

He was among the 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 student 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 The suspension was revoked later.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 an FIR over the death of the scholar, which triggered massive protests and demands for their removal from their posts.

The issue also took a political turn with allegations that the extreme action was a result of discrimination against Dalit students after Dattatreya had written a letter to Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani seeking action against their “anti-national acts”.

In a bid to defuse the raging controversy, the Centre had last week decided to set up a judicial commission to go into the suicide, and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 8 lakh to his family but protests continued.

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence and expressed grief over the death of Vemula, students are demanding the removal of Irani and Dattatreya and the Vice Chancellor.

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