Hyderabad varsity denies dismantling Vemula memorial

Hyderabad varsity denies dismantling Vemula memorial

Rohith vemula memorial in UoH (File photo)

The death of SC research scholar Rohith Vemula has returned to haunt the University of Hyderabad with a section of students alleging that the university under the directions of Vice-Chancellor Dr Podile Appa Rao has demolished the memorial erected in memory of Rohith.

The memorial called Veliwada (the ghetto) was erected at the same place where Rohith Vemula sat for hunger strike along with other research scholars who were rusticated and expelled from the hostel and mess. A bust of Rohit has become a symbol of fight against discrimination and a rallying point.

With the university students noticing that the memorial was removed, they tried to assemble a make-shift flex banner as a temporary arrangement. However, the university responded on Wednesday that the memorial withered due to natural reasons and was not demolished by the campus authorities.

In a statement published in the university web site, it was said “A Public university like the University of Hyderabad that is committed to upholding Constitutional principles, cannot be expected to condone or promote any permanent structure that, by name, seems to invoke a past symbol of caste discrimination.  The University could not become a party to perpetuating caste hatred and caste discrimination of any kind by allowing the continuation of a physical symbol that recalled untouchability and ghetto living at a common campus space”.

It further clarified that the "University had never taken any step to dismantle the structure. In fact, a bust of Rohith Vemula continues to stand at the site and has been the locus of commemorative meetings by different groups of students. The specific incident that has been reported should be seen as part of a broader move by the University to remove all banners, posters, and flexes.”

Samson Gidla of Justice for Rohith organisation, warning the UoH authorities, said that the fight will continue he added that the flexes removed were that of Dr B R Ambedkar, Ramabai Ambedkar, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, and others. wanted to know for whom velivada is an object of hatred?  “Velivada stands at the centre of formation of an anti-caste community here in the university campus and elsewhere," he said.