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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Rohith’s suicide: Teachers on fast - Asian Age

Jan 29, 2016 | Pti | Hyderabad

Three teachers of Hyderabad Central University on Thursday sat on a one-day hungerstrike demanding that vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile be removed and in-charge V-C Vipin Srivastava step down, in order to resume academic and administrative activities.

The protest by teachers comes a day after a second batch of students on an indefinite fast demanding justice for dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula, who allegedly committed suicide on January 17, were shifted to hospital following concerns over their health condition.

A teacher from the Osmania University also joined the protesting teachers in the fast on HCU campus under the banner of SC/ST Teachers’ Forum and other concerned teachers.
Earlier, a group of seven students had also been taken to hospital following their deteriorating health condition. The agitating students on Wednesday refused to hold talks with Mr Srivastava, who came to the protest site. They alleged that Mr Srivastava was equally responsible for the “wrong affairs” and demanded that he step-down from the responsibility of interim V-C.

Meanwhile, the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, spearheading the agitation over Rohith’s suicide, said that students would intensify the “struggle” till all their demands are met.

Their demands include Podile’s resignation, and also Srivastava’s from the post of in-charge VC, “sacking” from Union Cabinet of HRD Minister Smriti Irani, employment to a family member of Rohith and Rs 50 lakh compensation to his family.

The selection of Srivastava as interim VC was earlier opposed by the students and SC/ST staff forums as they claimed he headed the Executive Council sub-committee whose decisions were “responsible for the death of Rohith” and that he was one of the accused in the death of another Dalit student in 2008.

Students of most universities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana yesterday boycotted classes in solidarity with the agitators as they sought “justice” for Rohith.

JPC members want to visit universities
Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya, in his letter to the HRD ministry, called the University of Hyderabad a “den of casteist, extremist and anti-national politics” and complained that the ministry had been a “mute spectator” to the attack on the ABVP activist. Both HRD minister Smriti Irani and Mr Dattatreya have been under attack by the Opposition, which has also demanded that both resign.


At the joint parliamentary committee meeting, members also raised strong objections over the absence of the secretaries of the petroleum and telecom departments, and decided to approach LS Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to complain about the secretaries allegedly “undermining” parliamentary panels. They also sought her approval for a tour to the University of Hyderabad and IIT Madras, that have been in the news lately over alleged atrocities. The agenda of the meeting was to discuss issues related to the implementation of reservations in BSNL and bodies under the petroleum ministry. But since the secretaries were not available, the panel could not take up the listed agenda.