Hyderabad (PTI): Hyderabad Central University’s (HCU) interim Vice Chancellor Vipin Srivastava today made his second appeal in two days to students who have escalated their protests over the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula to help restore normalcy on the campus.
The fresh appeal came even as one of the seven students on hunger strike over the suicide was today shifted to the university’s health centre after his health deteriorated. His condition was later reported to be stable.
The Hyderabad police, meanwhile, foiled attempts to take out a ‘peace’ rally towards Tank Bund and took 54 protesting students in preventive custody. They were later let off.
The students, under the banner of Osmania University JAC and University of Hyderabad JAC, assembled near the People’s Plaza as per their plan to take out a ‘peace’ rally towards Ambedkar statue at Tank Bund.
In the appeal put up on the university website, Mr Srivastava said the university activities have come to a standstill due to continued blockade of academic and administrative facilities because of the agitation.
This will lead to a delay in the completion of courses affecting the employment and higher education prospects of the students, he said.
“Besides, disbursement of fellowships, scholarships and salaries (especially class IV and contract employees) is getting delayed inordinately,” he said in the appeal.
He mentioned that the HCU administration has taken two steps within its “realm” – withdrawal of punishment given to the students and an ex-gratia of Rs. 8 lakh to Vemula’s family.
Vemula and four other students from the Dalit community were suspended last year by the university for allegedly attacking an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leader.
HCU has already revoked suspension of the four students, following uproar over Vemula’s suicide on January 17.
“The University reiterates its appeal to the students and requests the parents and public to bear with us while we make earnest efforts to restore the normalcy at the earliest,” the interim V-C further said.
Mr Srivastava said he and the HCU fraternity deeply condole the “tragic and untimely” death of Rohith Vemula.
He had yesterday appealed to the students to withdraw their hunger strike, saying the deadlock could be resolved only through dialogue and that the administration should be allowed to function.
“One of the seven students who are on the indefinite hunger strike was admitted to university health centre following the deterioration of his health,” Ravindra Kumar, Chief Medical Officer said.
“He was semi-unconscious in the afternoon. He was taken to the health centre. His condition is stable now,” Mr Kumar said.
The second batch of seven students sat on indefinite hunger strike on Sunday after the first batch was forcibly taken away and admitted to the hospital on Saturday.