Dalit scholar death: ‘Chalo HCU’ protest today

Hyderabad (PTI): An indefinite fast launched by a fresh batch seven students over suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula continued in the Hyderabad Central University here for the second day even as agitators called for a ‘Chalo HCU’ protest march to press their demands.

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The stir resumed yesterday after the previous group of seven fasting students were shifted to the hospital on Saturday following deterioration in their health condition after three days of hunger strike.

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

The agitating students have called for a ‘Chalo HCU’ today and students from different universities in the country would gather in the campus here, their representative L S Biakani said.

The main demands includes removal of Vice Chancellor P Appa Rao, who has gone on indefinite leave, and passing a “Rohith Act” to prevent suicides of ST, SC, BC and minority students in universities, he said.

Meanwhile, Rohith’s mother Radhika was admitted to a private hospital yesterday after she complained of chest pain, Ravindra Kumar said.

She has been kept under observation in the ICU. Yesterday, the university put a notice on its website saying the Vice-Chancellor will be on leave and that Vipin Srivastava, the senior most Professor, shall perform the duties of the Vice-Chancellor. It did not mention the period of leave.

However, the SC/ST Faculty Forum and SC/ST Officers Forum expressed “shock” over the decision to appoint Srivastava as officiating Vice-Chancellor and alleged that he headed the Executive Council Sub-Committee “which has been responsible for the death of Rohith” and was one of the “accused” in the suicide of another Dalit student, Senthil, in 2008.

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