HCU suicide: 10 professors resign from administrative posts, slam Smriti Irani

In response to Smriti Irani's fabricated statements, we lay down our positions, say professors.

Hyderabad: Ten professors belonging to SC/ST community resigned on Thursday from administrative posts in the University of Hyderabad (UoH), in response to the 'fabricated statements' by Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani over Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula's suicide.

"In response to the Honourable Minister's (Smriti Irani) fabricated statements, we the Dalit (SC/ST) faculty and officers lay down our administrative positions" said a press statement by UoH SC/ST Teachers and Officers Forum.

Read: HCU suicide: Prof had asked Rohith Vemula if ‘Dalit’ got him grant

"We express our solidarity with students who are protesting against the death of Rohith Vemula and demand the immediate revocation of suspension and removal of police cases filed against our students," it added.

The press release further stated, "It (sub-committee of executive council) was headed by an upper caste professor Vipin Srivastava and there are no Dalit faculty member in the sub-committee."

Read: ABVP activist Susheel Kumar mom cried wolf

"It was headed by an upper caste professor and there are no Dalit faculties in this subcommittee. Incidentally, the dean of student welfare who happens to be a Dalit was notionally co-opted an ex-officio member of the committee. It is unfortunate that since its inception, no Dalit representation has been given in this council," it said.

On Wednesday, Irani termed the ongoing protest on Vemula's suicide as 'malicious' the attempt to 'project it as a caste battle'.

"This is not a Dalit versus non- Dalit issue as being projected by some to ignite passion," Irani told a press conference, while rejecting allegations that her Ministry had put pressure on the University to suspend Vemula.

Read: Hyderabad scholar death: Don’t instigate students, says Smriti Irani

Politicians from various parties continue to throng the campus. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and CPI General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy are expected to visit the campus today.

Students have been sitting on an indefinite hunger strike from yesterday as a part of the ongoing agitations.

The two-member fact-finding committee sent by the Union HRD ministry to probe the suicide is learnt to have found fault with the university administration for its inept handling of the students’ suspension issue, which triggered unrest on the campus for the past four months.

The committee is expected to submit its report to the ministry by Saturday. Based on this report, the ministry is likely to sack Prof. Appa Rao Podile as vice-chancellor. Rao took over as VC only in September 2014 and if suspended he would become the VC with the shortest tenure at the UoH. His six-year term is set to end in 2020.

Read: Hyderabad scholar death: UoH failed to stem the rot, says probe team

The committee is said to have felt that there is strong resentment against Prof. Appa Rao among dalit students ever since his tenure as chief warden in the campus between 2001 and 2004. Prof. Appa Rao’s tenure as chief warden was also mired in controversy as he faced similar allegations of discriminating against Dalit students in hostels and messes, which led to suspension of a few Dalit students and violent incidents on the campus then.

Meanwhile, Appa Rao, in the eye of a storm, has reiterated that he will not quit the post in UoH, and rejected allegations that he is a BJP man. “I am not a party person. I have been appointed through a normal selection process involving 190 candidates and selected on the basis of merit,” he asserted, dismissing the charge that he was a nominee of a Union minister.

Read: Hyderabad scholar death: US NRI PhD threatens to end life

“It is only a coincidence that the VC’s selection happened during NDA period. As the head of the university, people think I am responsible for the suicide of the research scholar. The case was ongoing even before I took charge,” he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle / ANI )
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