The police on 18 January registered a case against Union minister of state for labour Bandaru Dattatreya and University of Hyderabad (UoH) vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile and and two Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad leaders for abetting to suicide a dalit research scholar, who hanged himself on the campus on 17 January.
The police filed a case, on a complaint by a student, under the Scheduled Casts/Schedules Tribes Act Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act for apparently engineering the eviction of Vemula from the hostel.
Dattatreya had written to HRD minister Smriti Irani, where he called the Ambedkar Students’ Union (ASU) anti-national, said the protesting students. They added that the expelled students also belonged to the group.
Rohith Vemula, one of the five dalit PhD students expelled last year, committed suicide by hanging in his hostel room.
The 25-year-old, who is a resident of Guntur, was pursuing his research in science technology and society studies in the university for the past two years.
He allegedly got enmeshed in a tiff with the BJP-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) belonging to Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in August last year.
Immediately, the university ordered an investigation and the final decision by the proctorial board led to Vemula’s expulsion along with four others.
Soon after, they were blocked from entering the hostels, libraries, administrative wing and mess, leading to protests by students. Later, to oppose the varsity’s decision, they formed a Joint Action Committee for Social Justice. The students, including Vemula, were protesting on 17 January when Vemula entered the NRS hostel and committed suicide.
Meanwhile, the police force to enter the hostel where Vemula committed suicide. Immediately a clash of sorts broke out between the students and the police. The police in riot gear intervened and shifted the body for autopsy.
A large number of policemen were deployed on the campus to prevent violence as dalit and leftist student groups have called for a shutdown of the varsity.