UoH revokes Dalit students' suspension

Fri 22 Jan 2016, 11:26:57

Acceding to one of the demands made by the protesting students, the University of Hyderabad on Thursday revoked the suspension order issued against four Dalit research scholars.Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide recently, was among the Dalit students who were suspended.

The nine-member executive council, which had barred the five students from entering hostels, administrative building and common places in groups and also from elections, has now decided to terminate the punishment considering the extraordinary situation prevailing in the university.

According to sources, the decision is based on the nearly 80-page preliminary report of the HRD Ministry’s two-member fact-finding committee which visited the campus. The committee is likely to submit its final report on Friday.

While announcing the revocation of suspension, council chairperson and vice-chancellor P Appa Rao said the decision was subject to the verdict on a writ petition pending before the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad.

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad leader N Susheel Kumar’s mother had filed a writ petition before the high court seeking action against Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) leaders for attacking her son. Following their suspension, the five ASA leaders, including Rohith, moved the high court pleading for a stay on the university decision through another writ petition.

A case was also registered at the Gachibowli Police station against the five Dalit students following a complaint by Kumar under Sections 44 (Causing injury), 341 (Wrongful restraint), 506 (Criminal Intimidation), 323 (Voluntarily causing hurt) read with 147 (Rioting) of the IPC.

In a statement, Appa Rao requested the students to withdraw their indefinite hunger strike, which entered the second day on Thursday, and urged them to resume their academic exercises.

The ASA and the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, the outfits spearheading the agitation, slammed the council’s decision. “The decision clearly shows that the university is fully authorised to revoke the ban but refused to do so blaming it on the high court,” an ASA leader said.

“They (university) said it was sub judice, but if this decision was taken a week ago, Rohith would have been alive,” said Prashanth, one of the five scholars who were suspended. The students said they would organise a “Chalo-HCU” programme on January 25 in which students from other universities across the country were expected to join in.

Members of the Dalit faculty of the university, who accused HRD Minister Smriti Irani of misrepresenting facts, have threatened to quit their administrative posts.

According to PTI, 13 faculty members belonging to SC/ST communities gave up their administrative posts which they were holding as additional  charge. “The minister misrepresented the facts of the case by stating that the seniormost Dalit professor actually headed the executive council sub-committee which took the decision to suspend the students, while it was headed by an ‘upper-caste’ man, Prof Vipin Srivastava,” the faculty said in a statement.

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