A fact finding report of reputed Indian scientists belonging to premier academic institutions has squarely blamed direct Central government interference in the autonomy of the Central university in Hyderabad which led to the suicide of the young Dalit scholar, Rohith Vemula.
“Over the past several years, multiple students from Dalit and other minority communities have committed suicide at the University. This points to a pervasive problem that cannot be solved with small administrative tweaks.”
Fact finding by scientists
A detailed fact finding exercise was conducted in July 2016 by prominent Indian scientists,Suvrat Raju, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Bengaluru), Prajval Shastri, Indian Institute of Astrophysics (Bengaluru) and Ravinder Banyal, Indian Institute of Astrophysics (Bengaluru) who visited the University which has resulted in the report. Many other leading scientists from all over the country have signed the report.
“After having visited the University, and spoken to its members on both sides of this conflict, we do not see how Prof. Appa Rao can possibly contribute positively to the University in the current polarized atmosphere. His very presence as vice chancellor has led to a sustained conflict that has embarrassed the University. It is clear that Prof. Appa Rao cannot be forced to resign, as he continues to have the support of the central government. However, if his intention is genuinely to contribute to the welfare of the University, it is clear to us that he cannot do so while remaining as vice chancellor.
Required- an Anti-Discrimination Cell at HCU
“It is important for the University to have a more comprehensive anti-discrimination cell. We understand that the University has appointed an anti-discrimination officer, and this is consistent with the relevant UGC regulations. But a larger anti-discrimination cell — with representations from students, and various faculty and non-teaching staff, and also representation from outside the University — would be significantly more effective. This cell should have the power to investigate complaints of discrimination even against members of the administration.
Conflict in UOH reflects contradiction in our society
“It is this broader societal contradiction — between those who seek to redress injustice and build a more egalitarian society, and those who have a vested interest in the status quo — that lies at the heart of the conflict at the University of Hyderabad.”
It must be recalled here that instead of being removed/punished VC Appa Rao was rewarded. But now , one year after Rohith’s death, the chorus saying that Appa Rao must go is not dying down.