18 January 2016

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In Depth Hyderabad University Scholar Rohith Vemula commits suicide

In Depth Hyderabad University Scholar Rohith Vemula commits suicide

Rohith Vemula (26), a second year PhD student at University of Hyderabad, committed suicide on Sunday evening.
He used the blue banner of ASA for hanging.

He along with four other suspended students had been staging protest on the campus for last 15 days. They were sleeping in open to protest expulsion from the hostel. On Sunday, Rohith left the camp to spend the day in NRS hostel room.

As per media reports he was active in student politics, but had grown increasingly silent after the disciplinary action was initiated against him by the university.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of various student groups said Rohith was highly depressed due to suspension and expulsion from the hostel.

Union Labour Minister Dattatreya and Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and three others were Monday named in an FIR lodged with the Cyberabad police over the alleged suicide of the Dalit student.

The events started in last year august and finally he committed suicide.

August 2015 –
the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA), along with Ambedkar Reading Group, University of Delhi, Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle, IIT Madras, ASA (TISS) in Mumbai and concerned students from IIT Bombay issued a joint statement condemning an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) attack on screening of Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hain. Later, ASA's University of Hyderabad chapter organized a protest demonstration.

January 2016 –
According to media reports five Dalit students were asked to vacate their accommodation in January 2016 and were asked to find different quarters for themselves. Their living spaces were locked by the hostel administration.
Reason for such action - the students opposed the death sentences awarded to Yakub Memon.
Union minister for labour Bandaru Dattatreya, BJP MP from Secundrabad, decided to lend his might to the cause of the ABVP activists. He wrote to HRD minister Smriti Irani, urging her to take action against the alleged offenders. He described the university as “a den of casteist, extremist and anti-national politics”. He said, moreover, that action should be taken against the “anti-nationals” who protested the hanging of Yakub Memon.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) said The research scholars were expelled from their hostel in December. They were denied access to hostels and other buildings on the campus except their classroom, library and conferences and workshops related to their subject of study. They were evicted from their rooms on January and since then they were forced to sleep in a makeshift tent on the campus.

The screening of Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hain was stalled by the ABVP and according to the report on Counter Currents, derogatory remarks against ASA students were made on the Facebook page. When an apology was demanded, local BJP and RSS supporters pressurized the vice-chancellor of the university to expel the ASA leaders based on "false allegations".

According to another report on Counter Currents on this issue, the students (Dontha Prashanth, Rohith Vemula, Vijay Kumar, Seshu Chemudugunta and Sunkanna) were also denied permission to participate in the student union elections.

After the then VC's retirement, new chancellor Apparao was appointed.

New Chancellor Apparao promptly dismissed the students after receiving a letter from the HRD ministry. The move was recommended by Bandaru Dattatreya, Secunderabad MP and Minister of Labour and Employment, who called the ASA group "casteist, extremist and anti-national".

According to a NDTV report, after Dattatreya complained to HRD minister Irani, four letters were sent to the university on September 24, October 6 and 20, and on November 19 by the ministry. Each of these letters referred to Dattatreya’s complaint and said the university had not responded to calls for action against the students.

According to Indian Express Last August, ABVP leader Nandanam Susheel Kumar alleged he was assaulted by members of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) in his hostel room. He was admitted into Archana Hospital in Madinaguda by his brother Vishnu Kumar on 4 August, he was operated upon for appendicitis on August 7.
“After collecting all the medical reports of Susheel Kumar and examining them, I could not reach the conclusion that he developed appendicitis due to the alleged assault," says Dr Anupama Rao, Senior Medical Officer of the University of Hyderabad who, along with then Vice Chancellor R P Sharma, visited Susheel Kumar on August 8 — a day after the surgery

The Hindu reports that the HRD ministry sent five letters, including four reminders following Dattatreya’s letter dated August 17 last year. Four of the five students expelled are sons of agricultural laborers

January 21, 2016
Irani told to media that at various stages -from Proctoral Committee to Executive Council (EC) to sub-committee of EC senior Dalit professors of the university were involved in the decision to expel the five students.

more than 10 SC/ST teachers of University of Hyderabad (UoH) on Wednesday resigned from their 'administrative roles' protesting Union HRD minister Smriti Irani's remarks in Delhi that Dalit faculty members were also part of the UoH probe that eventually led to the expulsion of the research scholar Rohith Vemula and four others.

"The minister is misleading the nation. We will not work under the administration as there has been no representation from the Dalits in the executive council since the university's inception," Prakash Babu, Dean of Students Welfare and member of SC/ST Teachers and Officers Forum, told TOI.

"It (sub-committee of executive council) was headed by an upper caste professor Vipin Srivastava and there are no Dalit faculty member in the sub-committee," said a press statement by UoH SC/ST Teachers and Officers Forum.

Alleging that HRD Minister Smriti Irani was unnecessarily linking him to the controversy over the suicide of a Dalit student of Hyderabad Central University, Congress MP Hanumantha Rao told The Indian Express Wednesday that in his letter to Irani, he had never said there were “anti-national elements” at HCU.
Rao also said that “The HRD minister is misrepresenting the facts. She is unnecessarily doing this. They are playing games. I had raised issues of caste discrimination, corruption and irregularities in the university. But she never replied. The HRD Ministry says it acts on complaints by VIPs in 15 days. I am waiting since November 2014. They have not informed me what action they have taken on my letter,”

Thursday, January 21, 2016
The executive council of the University of Hyderabad on Thursday revoked the suspension of four Dalit that is lower caste PhD scholars who had been expelled, along with Rohith Vemula, in December last year.
The students - Sontha Prasanth, Pepapudi Vijay Kumar, Sheshaiah Chemudugunta and Velpula Sunkanna were not allowed to enter the hostel, library, mess and other common areas within the university premises post the December order. Their suspension was a result of a complaint filed by ABVP student leader Susheel Kumar

Read the entire suicide letter written by Rohith Vemula before his death, final letter


Suggested Reading –

Hyderabad university suicide: Rohith Vemula hangs himself in campus, student unions protest

Reality views by sm –

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tags - Hyderabad University PHD Rohith Vemula suicide Final Last Letter


Destination Infinity January 18, 2016  

His writing shows clarity in thought. I wish such people lived longer.

Destination Infinity

lina@happy family January 19, 2016  

OMG, his last letter made me goose bump.

Destination Infinity January 20, 2016  

SM, why don't you write a detailed article on the Govt. issued Gold bonds that banks are promoting now?

Destination Infinity

sukhbir singh badal.. January 20, 2016  

its very bad news.. govt. should take serious action against ppl who r responsible...

rudraprayaga January 24, 2016  

The news is very saddening and his mother's plight no one can erase.But the print media says during the last one decade about nine dalit students have ended their lives there.That means they are under pressure either from the so called upper caste or from the academic pressure or both. A thorough investigation of purely impartial nature will bring to light the atrocities prevalent there. Stringent action should be taken against those involved in this. It is not the fault of theirs that they were born in poor circumstances.They shouldn't at any cost be deprived of their birth right. The earth and environment does not belong to any muscular or fiscal force.It is of every living and non-living thing.Politicians shed crocodile tears to obtain milage of voting. if they are sincere they will fight against the social evil of racial segregation,not to engage in painting political hue. We hear only one side version. we should know the exact reason.Anyway my eyes started shedding tears when i read his letter.Poor one RIP.
It is not the caste but the cash that determines ones comfort here.