Hyderabad | Yielding to intense pressure, the Hyderabad Central University(HCU) today revoked the suspension of four dalit students against whom action was taken along with another research scholar Rohith Vemula Chakravarthi, who allegedly committed suicide in his hostel room on January 17.
On a day of dramatic developments, 13 SC/ST faculty members of the unversity, who backed the protesting students and had threatened to resign, announced that they were giving up their administrative posts. The revocation decision was taken at a meeting of the Executive Council of the HCU, on a day the stir gained further political heat and the protesting students resolved to step up their campaign for justice by enlisting support from campuses across the country.
The Council, after taking into account the extraordinary situation prevailing in the university and after discussing the issue in detail, resolved to terminate the punishment imposed on the students concerned with immediate effect, HCU said in a statement here. The HCU had in September last year suspended the five students, including Rohith, for six months (entire semester) for allegedly assaulting ABVP leader Susheel Kumar in August.
But, the suspension was later revoked. However, in December, while allowing them to attend classes, the HCU had denied them access to the hostel. The five research scholars, under the umbrella of a Joint Action Committee, had termed their expulsion (except classrooms and workshops related to subject of their study) from hostel as undemocratic and a social boycott and were forced to sleep in a make-shift tent on the campus.
After the alleged suicide of Rohith, the issue sparked strong reactions on the campus. In the statment, HCU Vice-Chancellor Prof Appa Rao Podile, who is under attack over the issue, appealed to the university community to maintain calm and harmony under the extraordinary circumstances prevailing on the campus and repose faith in the internal mechanisms to resolve the issue.
He urged all in the university to contribute to resuming regular class work, research activities and administrative work without further delay. Adding further political thrust to the agitation, which saw non-BJP party leaders making a beeline to the campus in the last few days, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reached the campus today and called for removal of Union ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya.
The research scholar’s alleged suicide following his suspension snowballed into a major row with BJP’s rivals wading into it and demanding the removal of Irani and and Labour Minister Dattatreya, accusing them of being responsible for the death.
The agitating students have been demanding resignation of Dattatreya, removal of Vice Chancellor, Rs five crore compensation to Rohith’s family and employment to a member of his family, besides revocation of suspension of four students.
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