Amid the ongoing protests in University of Hyderabad, the authorities have decided to demolish a memorial erected inside the campus for Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide on January 17 this year.
The authorities have also decided to remove all “unauthorised structures” at the shopping complex inside the campus. This decision was taken at a meeting of the university deans which was presided over by controversial Vice-Chancellor P. Appa Rao.
The agitating students have been demanding Rao's resignation, holding him responsible for the suicide of Vemula. A student belonging to the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) said “if they demolish the memorial, we will have to react strongly.”
The memorial is at the shopcom, as this shopping complex is called, and this is where Rohith and other four Dalit students had staged a sit-in for 13 days to protest against their suspension following a scuffle with an ABVP leader. Rohith later ended his life by hanging from a ceiling fan in the hostel room on January 17.
The students, who started an agitation over his death built a cement structure and installed busts of Vemula. Their main demand is the resignation and arrest of the vice-chancellor for allegedly creating circumstances that had forced Rohith to end his life.
On March 22, a group of students, who were opposing Appa Rao's resumption of duties after a two-month leave, had vandalised his office and ransacked the furniture and office records. As many as 25 students and two faculty members were arrested in connection with the violence on the campus and subsequently released on bail on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the students’ union of the university has sought President Pranab Mukherjee's immediate intervention to resolve issues related to the varsity and ensure that the VC is sacked. The UoH Student’s Union president Zuhail K.P. has sent a letter to the President, urging him to ensure restoration of peace in the university.
“Appa Rao is an accused in the case and cases have been registered against him and therefore, he should not continue in the post. The Judicial Commission formed to ascertain the facts of this case is still probing the matter. Instead of waiting for the Judicial Commission’s report, the VC showed utter contempt to the judicial process and resumed his duties on March 22,” Zuhail said in the letter.