Hyderabad

Some optimistic, some feel this is just the beginning

Protests continued to rock the University of Hyderabad following the suicide of Rohith Vemula, in Hyderabad on Friday.– Photo: K.V.S. Giri  

A significant chunk of students on the University of Hyderabad (UoH) campus are of the view that termination of suspension against their colleagues was not the answer to end the turmoil, and the solution would be concession of demands like action against Union Ministers and removal of the Vice-Chancellor.

Prosecution of the Union Ministers under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, booking a criminal case against Vice-Chancellor P. Appa Rao, employment to one member of Rohith’s family, payment of compensation of Rs. 50 lakh to the family and dropping of cases against Dalit research scholars are actions that might pave the way for the impasse to end, maintained the students on Friday, a day after the administration announced the revocation of the suspension.

It has been five days since research scholar Rohith Vemula took the extreme step and hung himself to death in a friend’s hostel room on the campus last Sunday, and three weeks since the four other expelled students have been agitating against the alleged ‘social boycott’. Post the suicide, the sprawling campus has been on the boil with academic and non-academic activity virtually coming to a halt. Politicians of all hues, but bound only for their anti-Bharatiya Janata Party stance, have made a beeline to express their solidarity.

The mood on campus is one of myriad hues and there is divided opinion. The ‘moderates’ appear to be a tad impatient for the agitation to end and academic sessions to begin. On the other hand, the activists on campus – members of the Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) – see the current agitation as just a beginning of a protracted struggle for social justice.

Mallepalli Laxmaiah, a senior journalist and social activist who has been supportive of the agitation, said that while the revocation of suspension was announced, it was way down in the list of students’ demands. “Action against the Union Ministers and their prosecution under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act apart, the other demands are more important,” he said.


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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 1:15:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/Some-optimistic-some-feel-this-is-just-the-beginning/article14015777.ece

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