Students pitch for nationwide varsity strike

Faculty to write to Prez against in-charge V-C

Students pitch for nationwide varsity strike

The six-day long agitation seeking justice for University of Hyderabad (UoH) Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula took the shape of a national movement on Monday.

About 200 student associations decided to float a National Joint Action Committee to spearhead their agitation. The Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Social Justice has given a call for one-day strike in all universities across the country on January 27. The JAC is also planning to commemorate Rohith’s birthday on January 30 and is going to give a call for “Chalo Delhi” programme.

Students from several Central universities here on Monday joined hands in response to a “Chalo-HCU” (UoH is popularly known as Hyderabad Central University or HCU) call given by the JAC and several other student unions across the nation.

The JAC is demanding implementation of a five-point charter that includes vice-chancellor (V-C) Prof P Apparao’s resignation, who is currently on leave, Rs 50 lakh ex gratia for Rohith’s kin, unconditional revoking of suspension of four research scholars, employment for at least one family member of Rohith and booking of culprits under SC/ST Atrocities Act.

On the other hand, the non-Dalit teaching staff has joined the agitation by agreeing to write a letter to the President opposing installation of Prof Vipin Srivastava as the in-charge V-C. The JAC leaders told the media that at least two professors who are not Dalits have quit their administrative posts following the appointment of Prof Vipin.

The “Chalo HCU” programme was a success with students turning in large numbers despite restrictions imposed by the Hyderabad Police at different points in the city. There was tension at the gates of the university as security guards allowed only bonafide students into the campus after checking their ID cards. They also refused to allow political leaders saying that they have strict orders not to allow non-students into the campus.

With reports from different parts of the city pouring in that several students were arrested and sent to Amberpet police station, a thousand strong student group protesting the attitude of the police took a rally to the main gates and then to the administration building demanding free movement of the students.

“We are peacefully demonstrating. We have no intention to create any trouble. The students have come from very long distance please don’t trouble them,” said Prashant, a Dalit research scholar. The anger subsided after Madhapur ACP, M Ramana Kumar, assuring that no student was arrested and all the blockades have been lifted.

In-charge VC- Srivastava, who held several rounds of talks with teaching staff, has urged the students to lift blockade of the administration building so that salaries of teaching and non- teaching staff for the month could be prepared. He further added that Apparao’s sacking is not in his hands as vice-chancellors of  Central universities are appointed by the President.

“More over the VC cannot be sacked while the Hyderabad High Court is dealing with the case filed by the suspended research scholars,” Srivastava added. On the other hand, the varsity authorities have informed the Hyderabad High Court that it has lifted the suspension. The court also heard a petition filed by Rohith’s mother, Radhika, seeking security.

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