A Hyderabad court on Monday granted bail to 27 people who were arrested for a violent protest against the vice-chancellor of University of Hyderabad last week.
The court granted 25 students and two faculty members bail on a one-time surety of Rs 5,000 each and directed them to appear before a police station once a week. They were booked on charges of rioting and voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from his duty, among others.
Hundreds of students of the institute have launched a campaign demanding V-C Appa Rao Podile’s immediate removal and his arrest for his alleged role in the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, as a debate raged over caste discrimination.
The V-C came back to the university on March 22 after a two-month leave and a group of students allegedly ransacked his office to protest his return. Video clips showed police dragging students demonstrating peacefully outside Appa Rao’s residence.
Some protesters were injured after the police beat them up with batons and several of them were hospitalised. Students also alleged that the policemen had threatened to rape women students.
Earlier in the day, fresh protests erupted against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the vice-chancellor. In the face of the demonstrations, classes have been suspended until March 27.
Rao inaugurated an international conference on physics amid heavy security despite the stir.
Research scholar Vemula, whose death has triggered a nationwide outrage, was among five Dalit students suspended by the institute following allegations of assault on a leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a right-wing students’ body.
After his death on January 17, critics alleged that the HRD ministry pushed for the students to be punished by sending five reminders to the vice-chancellor after Union labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya complained to Smriti Irani’s department.