Students flock to Hyderabad varsity for protest

Hyderabad, Jan 25: Tension prevailed in the University of Hyderabad on Monday with students from other states reaching here for a massive protest over the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula.

As hundreds of students from various universities in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and other states poured in, a large number of security personnel have been deployed to prevent any untoward incident.

Rohith Vemula

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Social Justice, an umbrella of student groups, have called a 'Chalo Hyderabad Central University' to demand the arrest of central ministers Smriti Irani, Bandaru Dattatreya, Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and others, blaming them for the "institutional murder" of Vemula.

There was tension at the main gate of the campus as police stopped students coming from various states.

After protests by JAC, students carrying identity cards were allowed. A police officer said only students would be allowed after they show their identity cards.

The JAC alleged that police stopped several students at various places in the city to prevent them from reaching the campus.

The university administration said there was no permission for the rally. Protesting against this, the students staged a sit-in at the administrative building.

Students reaching the campus were carrying black flags and pictures of Vemula, who committed suicide on January 17 following his suspension along with four other Dalit students over an alleged clash with a leader of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.

Some students also held pictures demonising Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani. The JAC, distanced itself from such pictures.

Though Appa Rao on Sunday went on indefinite leave, the students are not satisfied and they want him to resign.

The JAC has also condemned the appointment of Vipin Srivastava as the interim vice chancellor as he headed a sub-committee of the executive council which suspended Vemula and four other students.

Seven students continued their indefinite hunger strike for a second day on Monday. Other students too continued their protest at a memorial they have constructed for Vemula, near a shopping complex.

B.R. Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar visited the campus on Monday and expressed solidarity with the students. He said Dalit students in universities across the country were facing discrimination.

Several leaders belonging to various groups and activists are scheduled to visit the university later in the day to meet and address the students.


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