Hyderabad, May 1: In the sprawling campus of the University of Hyderabad (UoH), Hyderabad, the division between the students is clearly based on caste lines.
And it is this very caste-based discrimination meted out to the Dalit students by the upper caste students and teachers that a large number of students of the reputed university are fighting against since the Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula committed suicide in January this year.
However, the simmering tension between the student leaders of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJP's student wing, and the leaders of Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Social Justice of UoH, the group spearheading the fight for justice for Rohith, is far from over.
The students affiliated to the JAC alleged that the members of the ABVP tried to malign their democratic struggle against caste-based discrimination meted out to the five Dalit research scholars, including Rohith.
A recent press release posted on the Facebook page of the JAC, states, "The Joint Action Committee for Social Justice (UoH) condemns in the strongest possible words, the vicious attempts by the ABVP to malign our democratic struggle against the unrestrained casteist discrimination meted out to the five Dalit research scholars. It has come to our notice that ABVP, HCU has posted a couple of photos on the Facebook accusing JAC of sending threat letters to Susheel's home."
Susheel Kumar, a leader of the ABVP, last year alleged that Rohith and four other students of the university allegedly assaulted him. Based on Susheel's complaints, Rohith and his friends were suspended from the university.
"This is yet another display of a highly scandalous and shameful behaviour of the ABVP to vilify our struggle for justice for Rohith. Their accusation that it is the members of JAC or the students taking part in this struggle who wrote the threat letters to Susheel is utterly false and baseless," stated the press release of JAC.
"They have manufactured blatant lies and concocted grossly outlandish stories charging the students taking part in the democratic struggle of "hurting the democratic processes enshrined in BR Ambedkar's Constitution".
The JAC condemns this sordid political campaign by hypocrites and reiterates that we are and have always been part of a democratic struggle that demanded legal action against the perpetrators of the institutional murder of Rohith," it added.
The JAC members alleged that this was not the first time when the members of ABVP tried to vilify their democratic campaign.
"The reason why Rohith is not with us anymore is because Bandaru Dattatreya, the Union Cabinet Minister, currently booked under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and IPC section 306, earlier wrote a letter to Smriti Irani, the HRD minister, charging students of Ambedkar Students' Association as "casteists, extremists and anti-nationals".
The irony is that the students talking against the oppressive caste system and working towards annihilation of caste are being branded as "casteists" by the Caste Hindu forces," said the press statement.
"The JAC members reiterate that the students taking part in the struggle for justice for Rohith Vemula have not written any letter to Susheel Kumar and that it is a well-planned slander campaign launched against us to delegitimize our struggle. The deplorable act of appropriating the politics of Babasaheb Ambedkar by the Hindutva forces will be resisted through a democratic struggle," it added.