A Dalit research scholar was allegedly evicted from a university in Hyderabad on Thursday, sparking anger among students attending a function to mark the 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar.
Koonal Duggal said he may have been targeted by the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) for participating in the agitation seeking justice for Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula whose suicide in January sparked a debate over caste bias on campuses.
“The moment I finished my speech and song, three security guards pushed me and tried to forcibly take me to (the) chief security officer,” Koonal told HT.
He quoted the security officer as saying that university proctor Kona Prakash Reddy had barred his entry into the campus.
“They did not give any reason for this. They, in fact, disrupted the event,” he added.
University officials were not available for comments.
Koonal, who hails from Delhi, is pursuing his PhD on “caste and religious politics in contemporary Punjab”.
Associated with the Dalit Adivasi Bahujan Minority Association (DAMA), Koonal is also working as a guest faculty at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) where Vemula studied.
Koonal also participated in protests after the rustication of three Dalit students by the administration.
Some students alleged that the proctor had called the police on Wednesday night when they were cleaning and re-painting Ambedkar’s statue. However, the police left the campus without any action.
Koonal lodged a complaint with Osmania University police station against the proctor, saying he was harassed and humiliated in front of the student community.
The university security guards also lodged a complaint against Koonal, saying he trespassed into the campus.
“The security official says Koonal is no longer a student of the university,” said V. Ashok Reddy, inspector at the Osmania University police station.
The official said they have registered cases on both the complaints and would take further action after an inquiry.