The University of Hyderabad on Thursday revoked the suspension of four Dalit students, four days after a fifth so disciplined, Rohith Vemula, committed suicide and triggered nationwide protests. The decision of the executive council came after student bodies and opposition political parties stepped up demands for resignation of of Union education minister Smriti Irani and Union labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya in this regard.
The issue of suspension of these five, part of an Ambedkar Students Association in the university, took a serious turn after Rohith committed suicide in protest. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal were among those who visited the campus and joined the student protest. The Executive Council issued the following statement after its meeting: “The Council after taking into account the extraordinary situation in the University, and after discussing the issue in detail, resolved to terminate the punishment imposed on the students concerned with immediate effect."
Further, P Appa Rao, vice chancellor, appealed for calm and harmony and to repose faith in internal mechanisms to resolve the issue. He urged the students and faculty to resume regular class work, research activities and administrative work without further delay. Kejriwal visited the campus on Thursday and termed the death of Rohit a 'murder of democracy', beside demand the resignation of both ministers. Some organisations on the campus have formed a Joint Action Committee for Social Justice to press for the removal of both ministers, who, they say, precipitated matters and this led to Rohith's suicide.
Over a dozen faculty members of the scheduled caste and tribe communities had announced resignations to their administrative posts in protest against Irani's comment that the committees involved in the action against the five students also comprised Dalit members.