Hyderabad: Cracks appear to have developed among students protesting over a Dalit research scholar’s suicide at University of Hyderabad with the authorities claiming that a section of students have agreed to allow research activity to resume from Friday.
Interim Vice Chancellor Vipin Srivastava told reporters on Thursday that he was optimistic that classes in all streams will resume in a day or two.
He said after 10 days, the administration started functioning to deal with urgent matters like disbursement of salaries of employees, fellowships and scholarships.
While Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising various student groups continued their protest for 11th day and some faculty members also launched hunger strike at the campus located on the city outskirts, the vice chancellor along with registrar and two senior deans held a press conference in the city to claim that normalcy is returning.
The JAC and a section of faculty members are demanding resignation of Vice Chancellor Appa Rao. They also want Srivastava to step down as he headed the committee which suspended five Dalit students, out of whom Rohith Vemula committed suicide.
Srivastva, who took over as interim VC last week after Appa Rao went on leave, rejected the demand saying he got the position as per the university ordinances.
Interim vice chancellor and dean, school of chemistry, M. Durga Prasad, who was member of the six-member panel, defended the action taken against the five students.
Both maintained said if the judicial commission, constituted by the union human resources development ministry to probe the incident, asks them to step down, they will do so.
The interim VC said the university had accepted all demands of the students which fall in its realm. It revoked suspension of four students and announced an ex-gratia of Rs.8 lakh to the family of Rohith.
Pointed out that eight Dalit students and one tribal student committed suicide in the university during last 10 years, Srivastava said there should be a national debate on this. He believes that the reasons for the suicide were not difficult to find out.
Claiming that there is no caste discrimination by the faculty, he said the administration will take all steps to address any complaints by the students.
The VC said a mentoring system was already in place in some schools and will be extended to others to attend to the students’ problems. He said students would be cajoled to come out with their problems and inform their mentors.