Fresh protests by students broke out today in Hyderabad, Delhi and Chennai over the alleged “delay in justice” to the Hyderabad university dalit scholar who committed suicide, as they remained unrelenting in the demand for resignations of Union ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya.
Lending further support to the stir over Rohith Vemula’s suicide, SC and ST teachers of the Hyderabad Central University(HCU) announced a hunger strike from tomorrow seeking resignation of Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao, who has gone on leave, and interim VC Vipin Srivastava for resumption of academic and administrative work. Several members of the Forum have already given up their administrative responsibilities.
Stepping up their campaign, the university students in Hyderabad held a demonstration outside the residence of Srivastava when he was in a meeting with non-teaching staff.
They then marched outside the campus and burnt effigy of the Vice-Chancellor whose ouster they have sought.
Srivastava later visited the protest site to initiate a dialogue but faced the ire of the students who raised slogans against him, asking him to “go back”.
Students in most universities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana boycotted classes in solidarity with agitators seeking “justice” for Rohith who was found hanging in a hostel room on January 17. The HCU students had given a nationwide university strike call today in support for their stir.
Six of the seven students of the HCU on hunger strike protesting the suicide of Rohith, meanwhile, have been shifted to the health centre.
In Delhi, scores of students from varsities across the capital once again marched to the Human Resources Development Ministry where 60 of them were detained by Delhi police.
According to police, due to security concerns, around 60 students were detained from outside Shastri Bhawan and taken to Parliament Street police station.
“Every time we try to go to the Ministry and raise our demands with HRD Minister Smriti Irani, we are held back and detained by police. Protesting is a basic right. We can’t be denied that at a time when the government is trying to cover up ‘institutional murder’,” JNU Students Union vice president Shehla Rashid Shora said.
Members of Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS) and Left-backed All India Students Association (AISA) were also part of the protesters, who demanded the removal of Irani and Dattatreya.
“We are protesting against the delay in justice to the student who had to end his life due to the harassment by the institution. Who will be held accountable for similar such suicides in varsities across country which go unreported?” Sucheta De from AISA, asked.
In Chennai, about 40 activists of the Revolutionary Students and Youth Front were detained for trying to picket the Raj Bhavan over the suicide of Rohith besides three students of a private college in Villupuram last week.
The protesting members were detained at Saidapet before they could proceed to the Raj Bhavan, police said.