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Rediff.com  » News » Stir intensifies with 'Chalo HCU' over Dalit scholar's suicide

Stir intensifies with 'Chalo HCU' over Dalit scholar's suicide

January 25, 2016 16:01 IST

Students from the English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad protest at Hyderabad Central University in response to the 'Chalo HCU' call given by the Joint Action Committee heading the agitation over Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula's suicide. Photograph: @jacuoh/Twitter 

Protests escalated on Monday at the HyderabadCentralUniversity with several students from other universities and some social groups coming out in support of the agitating students over the alleged suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula.

The protesters converged at the campus, responding to the 'Chalo HCU' call by the Joint Action Committee spearheading the stir.

"Students and others have come in from different parts of the country. There are more than a thousand gathered here. Situation is under control," HCU chief security officer T V Rao said.

Security was beefed up with a large number of police personnel being deployed around the campus as a precautionary measure.

Joint Commissioner of Police Cyberabad T V Shashidhar Reddy said, "We are verifying all those who are entering the HCU campus. There is no such restriction on the 'Chalo HCU' programme."

Earlier, some students and their supporters had complained that the police were not allowing them to enter the campus.

Their demands include outster of Vice Chancellor P Appa Rao, who has proceeded on a long leave, and passing a 'Rohith Act' to prevent suicide of Scheduled Tribe, Scheduled Caste, Backward Classes and minority students in universities, the protesting students said.

The students and SC/ST faculty and officers' forums had objected to the choice of Vipin Srivastava, the senior-most professor, to perform the duties of the vice chancellor alleging that he headed the Executive Council Sub-Committee ‘which is responsible for the death of Rohith’ and was one of the 'accused' in the suicide of another Dalit student Senthil in 2008.

Meanwhile, Dr B R Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar visited the campus and interacted with the students, whose agitation has received strong support from parties other than the Bharatiya Janata Party and several top leaders including Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi were on the campus last week.

The students who gathered on the campus included those from CalicutUniversity in Kerala, PondicherryUniversity, OsmaniaUniversity and MaulanaAzadNationalUrduUniversity.

As part of the 'Chalo HCU' programme, the agitating students marched from HCU shopping complex area, the hub of the protest, to the main gate and administrative building and back.

The indefinite fast launched by a fresh batch of seven students continued in the university for the second day.

The previous batch of seven fasting students was shifted to the hospital on Saturday after their health deteriorated.

A health check will be conducted on the fasting students on Monday, Dr Ravindra Kumar, said a senior doctor at the health centre in the University.

Meanwhile, Rohith's mother Radhika was admitted to a private hospital on Sunday after she complained of chest pain, Kumar said, adding, she has been kept under observation in the Intensive Care Unit.

The university had on Sunday put a notice on its website saying the vice chancellor will be on leave and that Srivastava shall perform the duties of the VC. It did not mention the period of leave.

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