Nations boils over Dalit scholar’s suicide, chorus grows for VC’s resignation

New Delhi, Jan. 19 (ANI): A nationwide outrage by the students was witnessed on Tuesday against the suicide of a Dalit scholar with the University of Hyderabad turning into a battlefield as they continued with their protests.

The students demanded action against Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao, Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya and ABVP leader Sushil Kumar.

They raised slogans denouncing the VC and carried placards with messages such as ‘Appa Rao murdabad’, ‘Rohith Vemula amar rahe’ and ‘Sushil Kumar hai hai’.

The agitators also demanded a compensation of Rs. 50 lakh for Vemula’s family.

“Our demands are very clear. Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao and ABVP activist Sushil Kumar should be put behind bars. Appa Rao should be removed from the post of VC. Rohith Vemula’s family member should be given employment and a compensation of Rs. 50 lakh should be given to his family,” one of the protestors told ANI.

“We demand justice for Rohith Vemula. Action should be taken against those responsible for his suicide,” said another student.

The students clashed with the police personnel as the death sparked outrage on campuses across the city.

The protest did not limit to the state, but rocked the entire nation, including the national capital.

Earlier today, the NSUI workers protested outside the HRD Ministry in the national capital. The AAP workers also staged a protest at the Jantar Mantar here to express their ire over the incident.

Similar protests were witnessed in Chennai where the police detained several students from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to bring the situation under control.

The students also protested in Pune and Bangalore to express solidarity with their colleagues of the Hyderabad University.

Earlier today, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi interacted with the protesting students of the University of Hyderabad and said that the varsity had used to its power to ‘crush’ the students instead of allowing them to express themselves.

He launched a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA Government at the Centre and accused Dattatreya and the varsity’s Vice Chancellor of abetting the suicide of the scholar.

The students have demanded Dattatreya’s apology for interfering in University matters and branding the students as casteists, anti-nationals and extremists.

Dattatreya has been charged with abetting the suicide of the Dalit scholar.

He has also been booked under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act following allegations that he orchestrated the suspension of Rohith Vermula and four other Dalit students from the University hostel.

The police has also registered a case for abetment of suicide against University of Hyderabad Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and two ABVP leaders Sushil Kumar and Vishnu.

The Centre has formed a two-member probe committee as the incident triggered protests in Hyderabad and the national capital yesterday.

Rohith, a second-year research scholar from the Science, Technology and Society Studies Department, and others were suspended from the hostel last year following allegations that they attacked Sushil Kumar after a screening of the controversial documentary ‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai’.

Earlier this month, the five students were thrown out of the hostel amid allegations they were denied access to campus facilities, except their classrooms and respective workshops, on recommendation by an executive committee of the university.

The 28-year-old hailing from Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district was found hanging at a friend’s hostel room around 7: 30 p.m. on Sunday. (ANI)

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