The discussion and debate on whether or not Rohit Vemula was a Dalit is a conspiracy to divert the attention from the real issues that were plaguing higher education.
The basic issue at stake is the individual’s right to protest and right to dissent. The students were being victimised in the universities for speaking out, NFIW national general secretary Annie Raja told the media here on Sunday.
The other issue is commoditisation of higher education. The NDA Government succumbed to pressures from other countries post signing WTO and has decided to commoditise higher education and as part of it Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani sent a circular to universities directing them to stop paying non-NET scholarships. This has adversely affected thousands of research scholars across the country and Dalits and students from lower economic strata are worst affected.
The research scholars had not been paid stipend for over six months now and they were conducting an ‘Occupy UGC protest’.
The Government has slowly withdrawn from primary and secondary education and now is leaving higher education to let corporates enter that field, she said.
The NFIW 20th National Congress passed a resolution condemning the authorities of the University of Hyderabad and the Central Government for taking steps that pushed research scholar Rohith Vemula to commit suicide.