Research scholar hangs self after expulsion from Central University

Rohith Vemula hanged himself 12 days after he was expelled from his hostel along with four other researchers.

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:34 pm IST

Published - January 17, 2016 09:48 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Rohith Vemula, a Dalit research scholar of the University of Hyderabad (UoH), allegedly hanged himself to death 15 days after he was expelled from his hostel along with four other researchers.

The five Dalit students of Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) had been on a sleep-in strike in the open on the campus ever since their expulsion. On Sunday morning, following his 15th nightout, the student had strayed away from the protestors’ camp and spent his day in one of the rooms of New Research Scholar’s hostel. At 7.30 pm on Sunday, he was found hanging in the same room. He hanged himself using the blue banner of ASA, a student outfit which has been fighting for Dalit rights on the campus.

Suicide note

In the five-page suicide note recovered from the room Rohith had mentioned how he always “looked at the stars and dreamt of being a writer” and an established academic. The research scholar hailed from Guntur district . “His mother is a daily wage labourer with an agricultural background. His JRF fund also used to support his family,” a student leader said.

The victim was a second year research scholar of the science, technology and society studies department and also a University Grants Commission’s Junior Research Fellowship holder. The student is survived by his mother and a younger brother. In his suicide note, the student had also pointed out that for the past six months he had not got his JRF funds.

University Vice-Chancellor P. Appa Rao expressed shock at the incident. “I am as shocked and worried as anyone else,” he told The Hindu . Cyberabad police who had to rush to the campus following protests, however, did not comment on whether any case would be booked. Scores of students of the varsity laid siege to the hostel even as the Gachibowli police had to be rushed to the spot.

As per the university orders, five students, including Vemula, were denied entry into the hostel and permission to gather together following a scuffle between two students organisations — Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and ASA that took place on August 3, 2015.

It may be recalled that a scuffle broke out after ASA staged a protest at the university against ABVP’s attack on screening of the documentary, Muzzafarnagar Baqi Hai , at Delhi University. Till reports last came in, tension was mounting on the campus with agitated students preventing the police from shifting the body to the hospital. A case under section 174 of CrPC was registered in Gachibowli police station. As a precautionary measure, additional police forces were positioned on and around the campus.

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