Intellectuals want Telangana govt intervene in Central varsity affairs
Hyderabad: Democrats and intellectuals of Telangana have called for lifting of false cases foisted on students and teachers of Central University, Hyderabad, and decried the lackadaisical attitude of police in dealing with Rohit Vemula case.
Rohit, a Dalit scholar, had committed suicide on January 17 this year, claiming caste discrimination and bias at the university. Though a one-man judicial commission was set up to investigate the circumstances that led to Rohit’s suicide, its findings giving a clean chit to university authorities and police have never satisfied civil rights groups and activists in the country.
The young Dalit’s suicide has become a focal point for Dalit organizations and student groups to launch protests and agitations not only in Hyderabad but across the country. Many see a ‘cover-up’ and political interference in getting to the root cause of Rohit’s suicide. The larger issue, however, is caste politics and discrimination at institutions of higher learning and it has not been addressed.
Concerned about these issues and the state of affairs at the Central University as well as lack of progress on the questions raised by Rohit’s suicide, Hyderabad-based intellectuals and human rights leaders met on Sunday to take stock of the situation post Rohit’s death.
In a press statement, they said: “We are all aware that the Central University has become a nodal point in fighting against the caste discrimination and suppression. Unfortunately, of late vindictive actions are being taken on our students and teachers. In the present circumstances we, the undersigned, appeal to the Government of Telangana to see that a free, democratic and academic atmosphere is established in the university.”
Voicing the intellectuals’ concern, the press release said:
- False cases have been foisted on a number of students and teachers. All the students on whom such illegal cases were foisted are from Dalit, minority and socially backward families. The families are dependent on the income of the students for their livelihood. Hence, we appeal to immediately lift all the cases on the students and teachers.
- The National Commission on Scheduled Castes has confirmed that Rohit Vemula is a Dalit belonging to the Mala community based on the report of the collector. It has also ordered the police to speed up the investigation process in the case. In spite of this, the investigation has not progressed any further. Hence, we request that the Government of Telangana to see that justice is done by giving due respect to the Act of Prevention of Atrocities against the SC, ST and by carrying out its constitutional responsibility.
- The University supports the changes and democratic struggles going on in the society after due analysis. But after the institutional killing of Rohit Vemula, the university is not allowing any meetings or assemblies in the university through a despotic circular. It is understood that the situation has deteriorated so much that the Central University has, perhaps, become the only university in the entire country that does not allow entry to the media, and even to people’s representatives. In light of the existing situation, we appeal to the Government of Telangana to intervene and work for establishing a free, discrimination free and democratic atmosphere in the university.
The signatories to the appeal include: Ms Rama S Melkote, Kancha Ilaiah, D Narasimha Reddy, Prof G Nancharaiah, G Haragopal, M Kodandaram, Ms Kalpana Kannabiran, Mallepalli Lakshmaiah, Chukka Ramaiah, K. Madhav Rao.