A team from the Centre for Dalit Studies says authorities at the University of Hyderabad are to blame for the research student ending his life earlier this week

Four days after the suicide of M. Venkatesh, a Ph.D student at the University of Hyderabad (UoH), a team from Centre for Dalit Studies, an NGO, has said the suicide was a clear case of discrimination against Dalit students in the campus.

It has also accused varsity authorities of being indifferent to the needs of Dalit students, and also of putting in little effort towards consoling the family of the deceased.

“There was also negligence on part of the director of the Advanced Centre for Research in High Energy Materials (ACHERM), faculty and top UoH management in allotting Venaktesh a guide,” CDS secretary Y.B. Satyanarayana said on Thursday. Other members of the committee included ex-MLC Chukka Ramaiah, CDS director M. Anjaneyulu, and coordinator B. Venkat Raju.

The CDS team said the allotment of S.P. Tiwari as a guide to the deceased, two years before the former’s retirement, was a clear violation of varsity norms. Moreover, the ACRHEM director and staff made no concrete efforts in constituting a doctoral committee for Venkatesh following Prof. Tiwari’s retirement.

“ACHREM’s director claimed to be ignorant of the place since he had joined the programme three months ago, which is not right as he is the head [of the Centre],” Mr. Satyanarayana said. Mr. Ramaiah mentioned that the V-C told the committee that he could not appoint student counsellors on a permanent basis due to lack of funds.

“How can a Central Government institution not have adequate funds?” questioned the ex-MLC. The varsity has also not taken into serious consideration the recommendations of the Vinod Pavarala Committee and the V.K. Krishna Committee, which looked into the suicides of Senthil Kumar and Pulyala Raju, they said.

Recommendations

The committee had recommended that professional counsellors be appointed on a regular basis in the campus, an SC/ST grievances cell be established in every department, that all research scholars be allotted guides soon after their programme registrations, Rs.10 lakh be paid as compensation for the family of Venkatesh and jobs be provided to eligible members of his family.

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