Hyderabad : With a group of students from University of Hyderabad (UoH) planning to assemble here and hold a series of programmes tomorrow to observe ‘Shahadat Din’ on the first death anniversary of research scholar Rohit Vemula, the varsity authorities today said they have not sought any permission in this regard.
To mark one year of suicide of Vemula, who was found hanging in a hostel room on the varsity campus on January 17 last year, a section of students under the aegis of Joint Action Committee for Social Justice – UOH said they would gather at the ‘Rohit Stupa’ to remember his legacy and to vow that fight will go on against casteism and communalism.
“Through newspapers we have come to know about ‘Shahadat Din’ programme. They (JAC) have not sought any permission from University officials,” UoH Pro Vice-Chancellor Prof Vipin Srivastava said adding “if they go ahead with their programmes it will be unofficial.” Asked if permission is sought and if they will be allowed to hold the programmes, Srivastava told PTI “that has to be seen…it will be a collective decision.”
The mass gathering, to be organised tomorrow on the varsity campus, is slated to be attended by Rohit’s mother Radhika Vemula, family of Najeeb Ahmed, the JNU student who has gone missing, Jaan Mohammed, brother of Mohammad Akhlaq who was allegedly lynched in September 2015 on suspicion that his family stored and ate beef at their house, a few Dalits who were allegedly thrashed by ‘cow vigilantes’ at Una in Gujarat last year.
The JAC members, who are planning a series of programmes under the banner of ‘Justice for Rohit Vemula’ said Vemula’s portraits in all hostels will be garlanded and a remembrance rally will also be held tomorrow. University authorities, had last year, issued a notification banning entry of outsiders, political parties, media and social/student groups.
JAC for Social Justice at UoH, also known as Hyderabad Central University, had spearheaded protests over the scholar’s death following Vemula’s death on January 17 last year. The section of students under JAC had demanded removal of Appa Rao Podile from the Vice Chancellor’s post and had also sought his arrest. Vemula’s suicide had sparked massive nationwide protests, resulting in a fierce political slugfest, with a string of political parties and Dalit organisations siding with students and accusing the BJP and varsity administration of being anti-Dalit. Also, it had triggered a huge political furore with the then HRD minister Smriti Irani coming under attack along with Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya for having written a letter related to the matter.
Raising questions on Rohit Vemula’s Dalit status, a commission constituted by the HRD ministry after the scholar’s death had said the material on record did not establish it and attributed his suicide to personal reasons. However, National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Chairman P L Punia had rejected the judicial commission’s report on Vemula’s suicide as fake and fictitious, and said the deceased research scholar was a Dalit.