Critically-ill Dalit student at BBAU forced to vacate hostel room | education$higher-studies | Hindustan Times
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Critically-ill Dalit student at BBAU forced to vacate hostel room

A Dalit student at Lucknow’s Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU), who is suffering from liver cirrhosis, was allegedly forced to vacate his room by officials for beating up a professor last week.

education Updated: Sep 12, 2016 19:07 IST
Rajeev Mullick
A Dalit student at Lucknow’s Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU), who is suffering from liver cirrhosis, was allegedly forced to vacate his room by officials for beating up a professor last week.
A Dalit student at Lucknow’s Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU), who is suffering from liver cirrhosis, was allegedly forced to vacate his room by officials for beating up a professor last week.(Handout image)

A Dalit student at Lucknow’s Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU), who is suffering from liver cirrhosis, was allegedly forced to vacate his room by officials for beating up a professor last week.

Sumit Kumar, a forensic science student, was among one of the eight Dalit students rusticated by the varsity on Thursday for the alleged incident on Wednesday last week.

“The university officials threw out all my medicines, ultrasound reports and other belongings without showing any mercy. They were so heartless that they did not even bother to inform me. On Thursday, they simply uploaded the order of my rustication (with seven others) and threw away all my belongings from the room in my absence,” Kumar told Hindustan Times.

Kumar denied the charges against him and said he was not present during the incident on Wednesday night when some students beat up a professor.

“I was wrongly implicated in the case... The university is biased against Dalit students,” Kumar, who is now living outside the campus with a friend, said.

He added that he was going through a rough phase.

“My father, who was a police sub-inspector, passed away in February 2015. My mother is running the family on the monthly pension of Rs 9,630 that she gets after my father’s demise. A good amount of this money is spent on my treatment. It is a hand-to-mouth situation for us,” he said.

His friend and fellow rusticated Dalit student Shreyat Bouddh said that Kumar was under depression ever since university officials threw away his bags and belongings.

“Fortunately, Aarakshan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (ABSS) came in the support of Dalit students and provided interim financial relief of Rs 15,000 with which we are having our daily meals,” Bouddh said.

The university administration, however, rubbished the charge of insensitivity.

“These eight Dalit students have been regular trouble-makers in the varsity. They keep on disturbing the peaceful academic atmosphere of the campus,” university spokesperson Kamal Jaiswal said.

BBAU has 50% seats reserved for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students.

On Sunday, members of the pro-quota organisation met Dalit leader and junior social justice minister Ramdas Athawale to speak about the students’ plight.

They also requested the minister to take up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar so that “another Rohith Vemula-like incident” could be prevented.

Vemula, a Dalit research scholar at the University of Hyderabad, committed suicide in January after he was suspended following allegations of assault on a leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), an RSS-affiliated students’ body.

Read more: Dalit student at JNU threatens suicide, demands release of grant

He was one of the five students to be thrown out of the hostel and denied access to campus facilities, except their classrooms and respective workshops. The issue took a political turn with allegations that the extreme step taken by Vemula was a result of discrimination against Dalit students.

ABSS’ convener Avadhesh Kumar Verma claimed that Athawale promised them that he would fight for justice for the Dalit students.

The university hogged limelight this year in January when a few Dalit students raised slogans against PM Modi during its convocation ceremony. Modi spoke about Vemula’s death for the first time saying his death “pained” him and that “Mother India has lost one of her sons”.

University’s version:

On September 8, BBAU vice-chancellor RC Sobti wrote a letter to joint secretary, government of India, SS Sandhu saying that it was the same group of students who were involved in all the unruly incident that took place in the campus in the last one-and-a-half year. HT has a copy of the letter.

The letter reads: Twice FIR was lodged against some of them but the registrar (Sunita Chandra) got them withdrawn. The same mob was also involved in the disruption during visit of Prime Minister for convocation at the university in January 2016.

Read more: Dalit student’s suicide: Is Modi losing touch with the youth?