University of Hyderabad in lockdown; water, power off

University of Hyderabad in lockdown; water, power off

By: || Updated: 24 Mar 2016 02:44 AM
Hyderabad: Water, electricity, Internet and access to dining halls were cut off on Wednesday at all 20 hostels of the University of Hyderabad, where students are protesting against a police lathicharge as well as the return of the vice-chancellor who is yet to be cleared in Rohith Vemula's suicide case.

The students had announced a four-day boycott of classes after the lathicharge on Tuesday and the arrest of 28 students on charges of vandalising the vice-chancellor's official residence.

Student leaders Vijay Kumar and V. Sunkanna, of the Ambedkar Students' Association of which Rohith too was a member, said a curfew-like situation had been imposed on the campus to stall the visit of Kanhaiya Kumar.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University students' union president, who was to address students at the university on Wednesday, was not allowed to enter by the security staff.

Vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile, who is named as an accused in the suicide case and had gone on indefinite leave after Rohith hanged himself in January, suddenly resumed charge yesterday and issued a circular that non-students of the university would not be allowed inside.

"We have taken a decision not to allow any outsider, including mediapersons and political parties, on the campus," registrar M. Sudhakar said.

Kanhaiya, who had come with a JNU team to express solidarity with the movement to demand justice for Rohith, left as students argued with the security staff and the situation got tense.

Speaking to journalists at the gates, he said the students' struggle could not be broken with lathis. "How many Rohiths can they kill? I came here to express solidarity with Rohith's cause in the fight against caste discrimination which has become rampant in universities in the country," he said.

The students' protest would continue till the Rohith Act is brought to end caste discrimination in educational institutions, he added.

Rohith had committed suicide after he and four other Dalit students were suspended from the hostel over a scuffle with a member of the ABVP, the RSS students' wing. The suspension order came after the Union HRD ministry sent five letters to the university prodding it to act.

Earlier, Kanhaiya met Rohith's mother Radhika Vemula and assured her of solidarity from JNU and other institutions in the fight for justice for her son.

He told journalists at the airport that it was unfortunate that Podile had resumed charge before the judicial commission probing the suicide had submitted its report.

Police said additional forces had been deployed on campus and pickets have been set up around Podile's official residence.

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