Hyderabad varsity teachers join hunger strike

Hyderabad, Jan 28 (IANS) Three faculty members of the University of Hyderabad on Thursday launched a hunger strike even as students continued their protest for the 11th day over the suicide of a Dalit student.

A faculty member from Osmania University too joined the students on relay hunger strike demanding the resignation of Vice Chancellor P. Appa Rao.

V. Krishna, a professor, told IANS that this was an indefinite relay hunger strike to demand the resignation of Appa Rao, who last week went on leave.

The forum is also demanding the resignation of interim vice-chancellor Vipin Srivastava as he headed the panel which suspended five Dalit students. One of them, Rohith Vemula, committed suicide on January 17, triggering widespread protests.

Students under the banner of the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice-UoH continued their protest on the campus, demanding action against the vice chancellor, central ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya and others responsible for the suicide.

The interim vice chancellor’s attempt to reach out to the protesting students on Wednesday proved futile as JAC said it was unacceptable as he was part of the decision to hand out punishment to the Dalit students.

The umbrella of various students’ groups said Srivastava was also an accused in a case relating to Dalit research scholar Senthi Kumar’s suicide in 2008.

Tension prevailed on the campus on Thursday as students, mostly belonging to Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), staged a demonstration, demanding immediate resumption of classes.

The students of life sciences department raised slogans for saving their academic career.

The JAC alleged that the interim vice chancellor was provoking one group of students against the other. It made it clear that the protest will continue till justice is done in Vemula’s case.

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