Hyderabad(ANI): Ten professors of the University of Hyderabad have resigned from their administrative posts, deepening a crisis triggered by a Dalit scholar’s suicide which has turned into a political slugfest between the BJP-led NDA government and the opposition.
Ten professors of the University of Hyderabad have resigned from their administrative posts, deepening a crisis triggered by a Dalit scholar’s suicide which has turned into a political slugfest between the BJP-led NDA government and the opposition (PTI)
Reports said that the professors, all belonging to SC/ST communities, quit in a show of solidarity with students demanding justice for 26-year-old Rohith Vemula, who allegedly committed suicide after he was suspended from the university along with four other students.
The professors are also said to be angry over alleged “misrepresentation” of facts by Union minister for human resource development Smriti Irani who has termed the protests as a “malicious attempt” to project the issue as a caste battle.
The Irani-led HRD ministry has been at the centre of a controversy after it emerged that it had written five letters to the university following Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya’s complaint that the campus had turned into a “den of casteist, extremist and anti-national politics”.
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The University of Hyderabad SC/SC Teachers and Officers Forum rubbished Irani’s claim that a Dalit professor was among the members of the university’s body that suspended the students including Vemula.
“It was headed by an upper caste professor…and there are no Dalit faculty in this sub committee,” the forum was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
Administrative posts are non-teaching jobs assigned to professors like heading placement committees.
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“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,” the forum said.
Facing strong protests and demands for her resignation from opposition parties over Rohith death, Irani has said this was being done to ignite passions for political gains, while labour minister Dattatreya tried to distance himself from the controversy, saying he did not push the university to suspend the student.
“This is not a Dalit versus non-Dalit issue as being projected by some to ignite passion and there is a deliberate attempt to provoke students across the country,” Irani said in Delhi on Wednesday while rejecting allegations that her ministry had put pressure on the university to suspend Vemula.
Vemula ended his life on Sunday at the institution following his suspension after an alleged clash with a leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which is affiliated to the RSS. BJP leaders are concerned that the nationwide outrage over the suicide may seriously dent its strategy for a slew of crucial state elections this year.
Opposition parties have joined ranks over the issue and attacked the BJP and NDA’s alleged anti-Dalit policies.
Several political leaders including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien and YSR Congress party chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy have already visited the campus.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is also expected to visit the university and meet the protesting students, who have been boycotting classes since the incident.
Protests have erupted on college campuses in other parts of the country with clamorous demands for Irani, Dattatreya and the vice-chancellor to be removed from their posts.