Thursday, January 21, 2016

Rohith's "systemic murder": Present vice-chancellor, Hyderabad University, expelled 10 Dalit students in 2002

Protest in Hyderabad against Rohith's "suicide"
By Our Representative
India’s top apex body of tens of people’s organizations, National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM), has termed the recent suicide of Rohith Vemula, an upcoming Dalit scholar of the University of Hyderdabad, a “systemic murder”, seeking “urgent intervention” from the judiciary and the President of India.
Pointing out that it is the reflection of the casteist and fascist agenda in India’s educational institutes, the NAPM has alleged, “governments, university heads, and the exclusionary casteist groups flourishing under the protection of political groups and affiliations have butchered another scholar, Rohith Vemula”.
It added, “This has once again brought to fore the stark reality of the caste discrimination which continue to flourish in our society, the institutes of higher learning, government offices, media and many other public institutions.”
NAPM said, “We are outraged at the silence, which prevails in the corridors of power. We are outraged and angered at the systematic denial and death of our own. We are outraged at the constant denial that caste discrimination doesn’t exist in modern India. It exists.”
“The government in power has claimed that the death of Vemula has got nothing to do with caste. This is completely false. His death is an example of the institutional and systemic bias. There is a close nexus between the Ministery of Human Resources Development (MHRD) and Hindu fundamentalist groups like Akhil Bharatiya Parishad (ABVP)”, NAPM said.
Pointing out that this is clear in “the letters which ministry wrote to the vice chancellor”, NAPM said, Smriti Irani, the MHRD minister, “cannot shrug off responsibility. Propriety demands that she steps down until an impartial enquiry is carried out.”
“There have been many such incidents in Hyderabad University in past as well. In 2002, 10 students were rusticated from the same college and later it was found that all the students belonged to scheduled caste (SC), and it was done by the present serving VC of the University of Hyderabad”, NAPM revealed.
Demanding justice for Vemula, his friends who were expelled and many others “who continue to face the scourge of institutional discrimination across the country on a daily basis”, NAPM said, “Casteism is an age-old vice. Prompt and exemplary actions on perpetuators of caste violence and a movement to remove it from all walks of our life is required.”
Insisting that “actions have to begin at the top”, and in this particular case, “central ministers, university authorities, students’ unions are involved”, the statement said, adding, “The fact remains that irrespective of the political party in power, these instances continue to happen with impunity.”
“The incidents of suicide by SC/ST students have often taken place in prestigious institutions like Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, and so on. It is often blamed on the lack of merit and inability to cope with the higher requirements of merit”, the NAPM said.
“Often” the statement said, the blame is put on “the existing system of reservations for the backward and SC/ST communities. Our collective failure to punish the perpetrators of this violence only encourages others to continue to follow the same.”

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