Leftist students ransacked and vandalised the office and on-campus residence of Hyderabad Central University vice-chancellor P Appa Rao when he returned to campus after his two-month-long leave. Students barged into his residence, broke window panes, smashed doors, television and other items while shouting slogans against Rao resuming his duties as vice-chancellor.
Later, some of them abused and threw stones at the police, seriously injuring one constable P. Srikanth Reddy, and injuring others.
Rao, who went on leave after Rohith’s suicide, is accused by leftist student groups of ‘abetting’ Rohith Vemula’s suicide. These students are also blaming the “dictatorship of the union government” in allowing Rao to resume his duties.
Rohith Vemula’s tragic death
- Rohith Vemula was part of Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) which had organized a protest march in UoH over the hanging of convicted terrorist Yakub Memon. Reacting to this, N. Susheel Kumar, president of ABVP, allegedly called the ASA students ‘goons’ in a Facebook post for protesting the death sentence of a terror convict. Around 40 ASA students barged into his room at 1 AM and beat him up over this post. Susheel suffered a blunt trauma to abdomen causing appendicitis
- Later he also had a contusion on the left shoulder when ASA members forced him out of the university’s security vehicle.
- Upon complaint from Susheel, the University authorities inquired into the matter and recommended suspension of 6 students, Rohith being one of them. Later, the disciplinary action was reduced to only hostel expulsion. The students’ fellowship and academics was not affected and they were allowed access to their classroom, library and conferences and workshops related to their subject of study.
- A second Dalit student group in UoH, Dalit Student’s Union, claimed that ASA had assaulted Dalit students from their group too.
- ASA continued protesting against this University decision and were doing hunger strikes, sleep-in tents etc. On 17 January 2016, Rohith took the unfortunate decision to end his life. His suicide note and social media comments in the preceding months reveal a sensitive, though troubled mind. He felt that leftist organizations like SFI (student body of CPI-M) pit Dalit against Dalit, and that organizations like ASA, SFI ‘exist for their own sake’.
Reports in Telugu media also suggested that during the investigation by University authorities, Rohith had wanted to compromise and settle the issue with Susheel, but SFI didn’t allow him to.
- Union HRD minister Smriti Irani had spoken in Parliament on the politics around Rohith Vemula’s death :
- The University Executive Council which took the decision to suspend Rohith Vemula was appointed by UPA, not the present government
- The police report says no one allowed a doctor near Rohith, to revive him, or to take him to a hospital. His body was used a political tool. From 7.20 PM at night to 6.30 AM the next morning, the Telangana police was not allowed to take his body to a doctor.
Continuing politics over Rohith’s death
Everybody from Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, and even MIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi have tried to use this tragic death for their politics. UoH has been converted into a circus with endless protests, press conferences and high-profile visits. The latest entry to the bandwagon is the current darling of media, and liberal chatterati – JNU’s Kanhaiya Kumar.
Son of poor anganwadi worker flying high with designer shirts..!! laal salam to such simplicity..! https://t.co/jpp3yfFBp3
— Vismay (@vismayshah) March 23, 2016
But in the end, it is the poor student of University of Hyderabad who just wants to focus on his studies and career that is suffering in the endless game of political one-upmanship being played over Rohith Vemula.