The Joint Action Committee had recently called a nationwide students strike for social justice over suicide of the ‘Dalit’ scholar, Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad. The strike has garnered huge response from all over the country with universities in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh remained shut. The classes were boycotted by students in universities in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Calicut.
The situation in Hyderabad University, where Rohith Vemula committed suicide on 17 January, is the most agitating. The students have clashed with police trying to disperse them from their agitation. The students surrounded the VC Vipin Srivastava house and when he tried to make peace with the agitators, the students shooed him away. Members of JAC raised slogans like “Killer VC down down” and “Rohith tere khoon se inquilab aayega’. The members were dressed in black and vowed to undergo protests until the Union Ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani along with VC Appa Rao Podile were sacked from their positions. The departments in the campus were shut down forcefully by the agitating students by terming Vemula’s suicide as “institutional murder carried out by the university administration, government officials and ministers.”
According to a JAC statement released, it said, “We reiterate our demand that the culprits be booked under the SC/ST Atrocities Act and arrested. We will continue with the hunger strike.” The SC/ST Teachers Forum in the university has also decided to join the hunger strike and express their solidarity from Thursday onwards. A member of the forum, Sripathi Ramudu said, “We sent a letter to the interim VC informing him about our hunger strike plan.”