Punia condoles Dalit scholar’s death, to meet Hyderabad Univ. students

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New Delhi, Jan. 18 (ANI): P.L. Punia, the chairman of National SC/ST commission, will visit University of Hyderabad on Monday to meet the protesting students after one of the five expelled scholars committed suicide last night by hanging himself.

Punia condoled the student’s death and assured that his sacrifice would not go in vain.

“Through the media we got to know that Dalit scholars and the students associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarti Parishad (ABVP) had a fight following which the university made a one-sided decision against the Dalit students. They were staging a protest since then and last night one of them committed suicide,” Punia told ANI.

Punia revealed that he had asked for a report on the expulsion of the students on January 13 through which he could intervene in the matter.

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“On 13th we had asked for a report through our state office so that we could intervene in the matter. The report has not been received yet, may be because of Pongal holidays. So, today again I have asked for the report urgently. And I have decided to go to Hyderabad and to talk to the people on the spot and take a look at the real problems and who was at fault,” he added.

One of the five dalit scholars, expelled from the University of Hyderabad 12 days ago, hanged himself to death last night.

25-year-old Rohith Vemula, who belonged to Guntur district of Amravati, was doing his PhD in science technology and society studies for the past two years, before the scholar allegedly got involved in a tiff between two student groups in August last year.

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The five researchers were supported by 10 other students’ outfits on the campus including ASA, Students Federation of India, Dalit Students Union and National Students Association among others.

On Sunday, the students from each of the outfits had started relay hunger strike asking the university administration to take back the students all of whom hailed from backward socio-economic backgrounds.

The students protested against Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya.

The students demanded the revoking of the suspension of the five Dalit research scholars. They also demanded Dattatreya’s apology for interfering in University matters and branding the students of University of Hyderabad as casteists, anti-nationals and extremists. (ANI)

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