Discrimination in HCU goes unabated, claim students

Some meritorious Dalit students complain of lowering of marks by faculty, allege no action taken by varsity.

Hyderabad: Complaints by Dalit students relating to caste discrimination in the University of Hyderabad over time fell on deaf ears. Though there were instances of some meritorious Dalit students scoring over 80 per cent marks in one semester being awarded just pass marks in the next semester and Dalit students lodging complaints against professors resorting to caste discrimination, the university failed to initiate stern action against any professor.

In some cases, the university rectified the evaluation errors and awarded higher marks to Dalit students after inquiry but no action was initiated against professors responsible for this. B. Anand, a Dalit and a PG student in Economics scored 83 per cent marks in the first semester and was in the list of students competing for gold medal. Shockingly, he got only 52 per cent marks in the second semester leading to protests from Dalit students, who alleged that he was deliberately awarded lower marks by some professors from upper castes to scuttle his chances of becoming a gold medallist.

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Similarly, V. Vijay Kumar, a Dalit student pursuing masters in sociology, qualified four times in the UGC’s NET. But the sociology professor had failed him in a subject due to which he could not submit the thesis so far. The student lodged a complaint with university administration, which inquired into the issue and found that he had actually passed the exam and declared him passed. Despite this, no action has been initiated against the professor.

Dalit Ph.D scholar Madadri Venkatesh, who committed suicide in Nov.ember 2013, was also a victim of caste discrimination on campus. While the university had not named any faculty as guide to monitor his research work, a general candidate was given a guide at the time of selection itself. After repeated requests a guide was allotted who was set to retire in two years against the norm of three years. During this period, Venkatesh could not complete his research work. When he sought a new guide, he asked him to start research afresh causing mental agony to the student.

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In the case of Ph.D student M. Senthil Kumar, who committed suicide in 2007, he failed in statistical mechanics. “We have inquired into several of these cases and submitted a report to the university administration. But there has been no concrete action from their side,” said Prof V. Krishna.

UoH to give Rs 8 lakh ex gratia to Rohith’s family
In a reconciliation move, UoH on Friday announced an ex gratia of Rs 8 lakh for deceased UoH scholar Rohith Vemula’s family. This, however, was below the expectations of the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice. A combative member of the JAC said: “The ex gratia amount is too little and an insult. Rohith would soon have been working in a good position somewhere if he was alive, and earning a lot more. We can collect the Rs 8 lakh and give it to the university or its VC. Our demand is for Rs 50 lakh which is the least the UoH can give.”

Condition of students on fast worsens
Health of seven students on an indefinite hunger strike was deteriorating as the agitation in the aftermath of the Rohit Vemula death continued on UoH campus on the third day.

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UoH doctors said BP of the fasting students was fluctuating and their health deteriorating. Police was considering the possibility of forcibly shifting the students to hospital. The hunger strike started on Wednesday. “Their BP is fluctuating and their health is deteriorating. Condition might worsen by tomorrow,” said UoH doctor Capt. Ravindra Kumar. “We are conducting check-up every two hours,” he said. Meanwhile, the students said they would not end the hunger strike until their demands were met. “We will continue our strike till the VC is ousted,” said K. Krishnaiah, one of the students. Gachibowli police is monitoring the situation closely.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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