Vemula suicide: 13 SC/ST faculty members resign, join protesting students

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HRD Minister Smriti Irani
HRD Minister Smriti Irani

Thirteen faculty members of University of Hyderabad put in their papers from their respective posts, even as protests over the suicide of Rohit Vemula , a research scholar, intensified on 21 January.

Among those who have resigned include Professor V Krishna, controller of exams, Chief Medical Officer Dr Ravendra Kumar, 10 hostel wardens and chief warden Nagaraju.

As per media reports, after resigning from their posts, the professors joined the students protesting against the Narendra Modi government and the university vice-chancellor. They too belong to SC/ST communities.

The professors are also angry about the alleged mTisrepresentation of facts by Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani, according to Hindustan Times.

The students made five demands, first and foremost is revoking the eviction of the four students (they were evicted from the university along with Vemula).

Apart from removing vice chancellor P Appa Rao and labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya, the students called for action against BJP MLC Ramachandra Rao.

They also demanded a judicial investigation into the matter. “Other than a compensation of Rs 5 crore, Vemula’s family musty be given a home and government job,”said Kiran Kumar of the Joint Action Committee of students of Hyderabad University.

Taking on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Irani was at pains to explain that an ABVP student, who was attacked due to student rivalry, belonged to the OBC community, as was Dattatreya, who had written a letter to her about the attack.

She rejected allegations that her ministry’s intervention through letters had led to Vemula’s suicide. “My appeal to the students is: Please do not get instigated.” There has been an attempt to present this as a caste war. It is not a Dalit vs non-Dalit face-off as was shown,” she said.

When asked if she would go to Hyderabad, Irani said she not visit not make a visit as she would not like to give an impression of interference.

Meanwhile, medical officer at Health Centre of UoH Captain Dr Ravindra Kumar are hiding in a room along with other Dalit officials. “The varsity administration has sent names of 50 Dalit teachers, officers and students to New Delhi. So, we are hiding here instead of standing along with the protesters.”