Protest flames refuse to die down

Protest flames refuse to die down
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Highlights

High tension prevailed in the University of Hyderabad (UoH) on Monday as the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice called for ‘Chalo UoH’ on Monday demanding justice for Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula.

ROHITH SUICIDE SAGA
Students from other universities gather at UoH in large numbers; police say situation is under control

Hyderabad: High tension prevailed in the University of Hyderabad (UoH) on Monday as the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice called for ‘Chalo UoH’ on Monday demanding justice for Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula.

Nearly 1,500 students from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and some other states gathered at Shopping Complex on the university campus which became an epicentre for the agitation following suicide of the dalit research scholar.

Students from Maulana Azad National Urdu University, English and Foreign Languages University, Osmania University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences-Hyderabad, Pondicherry University, Calicut University in Kerala and students affiliated to NSUI participated in the ‘Chalo UoH’.

Fearing law and order problem on the campus, several students were not allowed into the campus in the morning. However, after repeated requests from JAC members, the security officials allowed the students inside.

The JAC members took out a huge rally from the shopping complex to administration block and back to the complex. The protesting students raised slogans and sang songs like ‘Iss Umar Mein VC Kaha Gaya, Honeymoon Pe Honeymoon Pe’, ‘Apna VC Hua Purna, OLX Pe Bhej Do’.

While some students protested by sloganeering, some other students protested through their art and skits with a tag line ‘my art is my way of protesting’. Students depicted life of Dalits and how they are harassed in the universities and society through their paintings.

Meanwhile, Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr BR Ambedkar visited the university campus and extended his solidarity with the agitating students.
In the morning, the situation turned tense as police stopped students coming from various states.

After protests by JAC, students carrying identity cards were allowed. A police officer said only students would be allowed after they show their identity cards. The JAC alleged that police stopped several students at various places in the city to prevent them from reaching the campus.

The university administration said there was no permission for the rally. Protesting against this, the students staged a sit-in at the admin
istrative building.

The students reaching the campus were carrying black flags and pictures of Vemula who committed suicide on January 17 following his suspension along with four other Dalit students over an alleged clash with a leader of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Some students also held pictures demonising Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani. The JAC distanced itself from such pictures. The JAC has also condemned the appointment of Vipin Srivastava as the interim Vice-Chancellor as he headed a sub-committee of the executive council which suspended Rohith Vemula and four other students.

Prof Kancha Ilaiah, Prof G Haragopal, veteran journalist P Sainath, writer and poet Goreti Venkanna, Social activist Vimalakka were among others who visited the university and expressed their solidarity with agitating students.

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