Hyderabad: Protests erupt at UoH following death of 2 workers

The protesting students and workers blame the lack of compassion on part of higher authorities for the deaths of the workers.

Hyderabad: The University of Hyderabad (UoH) students’ union has called upon the administration to protest the rights of contractual workers on campus. Protests were held in the campus, after the tragic deaths of two contractual employees last week.

Praveen, a sanitation worker, died by suicide, on December 12, while Vinod, a contractual office attendant, succumbed to a heart attack on December 11.

A representative of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) at the University of Hyderabad said, “Last Monday, Vinod, who had been a committed worker in the Hindi department for over seven years, died of a heart attack in the washroom. This happened under the tenure of a newly joined Head of Department (HoD) who has been accused of abusive behaviour towards Vinod and other subordinate staff.”

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“The HoD of the Hindi Department, UoH, did not allow Vinod to receive medical help even though he was showing symptoms of breathlessness, moments before he died,” they added.

The union further elaborated on the alleged suicide of another worker, Praveen just a day after Vinod passed away. Sanitation officer, Mahesh, is allegedly responsible for the death of Praveen. They said, “A sanitation officer who retired from UoH service but continued to work on a contractual basis was abusive. He harassed Praveen and that led him to take the step. There are also allegations of harassment by the sanitation officer against female workers.”

They further revealed that the students’ union has submitted a representation to the university administration, demanding the protection of workers’ rights.

Circle Inspector of Gachibowli, B. James Babu, confirmed the incidents. “Last week, we witnessed two deaths at the University of Hyderabad. Vinod suffered a heart attack, and a day later Praveen died by suicide after consuming a pesticide. We are currently investigating these cases,” Babu said.

Efforts to contact the university administration for comments went in vain.

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