Hyderabad: The Joint Action Committee (JAC) members for Social Justice at Hyderabad Central University, today blocked the main gate of the varsity protesting removal of makeshift tents near the shopping complex on the campus.
D Prashant, a JAC member which is heading the agitation over the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula early this year, said JAC members blocked the main gate after tents were removed “by force” on instructions of HCU Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile.
“Yesterday Dr B R Ambedkar’s portraits have been taken down and tents also was removed by force under instructions of the vice chancellor. We demand Appa Rao must be immediately sacked. We will continue to agitate until justice is delivered,” he said.
According to JAC, the university had put out an order by Appa Rao on May 24 stating that the students are ‘advised’ to remove the ‘unauthorised’ tents and structures from the shopping complex (on the campus) within 48 hours.
JAC alleged that the order by the VC was basically a threat to the students to remove the makeshift shed named ‘Velivada’ (Dalit ghetto) near the shopping complex.
“We have blocked the main gate. We will not let the university function if they deny our constitutional right to protest. Varsity authorities have removed tents at ‘Velivada’ and banners bearing Ambedkar’s quotes and images. We will not end this blockade…we will not tolerate this insult to ‘Justice For Rohit Struggle’,” another JAC member Arpita said.
Following their suspension, Rohith and four other students, had set up ‘Velivada’ near the university’s shopping area which they used it as the site to protest against the “discrimination” they were facing.
After Rohith’s death, students set up tents and ‘Rohith Smaraka Stupa’ was also installed at the shopping complex.
The JAC on Tuesday alleged that the students were being evicted from hostels without any justification, and the graffiti and posters put up by them were being removed in the name of maintenance and renovation.
HCU has been witnessing sporadic protests over the suicide of Rohith in January this year, with students demanding removal of the vice chancellor from his post.