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Union Minister, HC University VC booked over suicide of Dalit Scholar


The Hyderabad Police on Monday booked Union Minister of State for Labour (independent charge) Bandaru Dattatreya and Vice Chancellor of Hyderabad Central University(HCU), P Appa Rao, in connection with the alleged suicide of a Dalit PhD scholar. The case has been filed under the SC/ST Act in connection with the death of Rohith Vemula, who had been expelled from the university hostel along with four other Dalit scholars. The five students belonged to the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA).

Students protesting over the death of Rohith had demanded the police to register a case under SC/ST Atrocity Act against BJP leader Bandaru Dattatreya while alleging that he had written to the HRD Ministry seeking action against these research scholars. Rohith's body was found hanging at the university's hostel room in the campus on Sunday. It was sent for post-mortem amid protests from fellow students this morning.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner CV Anand said though tension prevailed in the campus, the situation was now under control. Scores of students had gathered and held demonstration along with Rohith's body and raised slogans last night. Rohith was among the five research scholars who were suspended by Hyderabad Central University in August last year and also one of the accused in the case of assault on a student leader. The suspension was revoked later. Further investigation in the case is on. The five research scholars were also suspended from the hostel for rest of their study period for allegedly attacking an ABVP leader. Last week, a section of students had laid a siege to the Administrative Building of the HCU against the suspension of the research scholars.

The students under the umbrella of a Joint Action Committee (JAC) had termed the suspension as "undemocratic" and as a "social boycott" since the five research scholars were denied access to hostels and were forced to sleep in a makeshift tent on the campus. Based on the recommendations of a sub-committee of the Executive Council, the five were denied access to hostels on the campus except their classrooms and workshops related to their subject of study. The council had recommended the punishment based on a Proctorial Committee inquiry.

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