University of Hyderabad vice-chancellor P Appa Rao, who is in the eye of the storm over the suicide of a Dalit research scholar, has gone on leave.
The university administration announced on Sunday that Vipin Srivastava, the seniormost professor, will perform the duties of the vice-chancellor in Rao’s absence.
Rao was under fire for his handling of the issue relating to the suspension of five Dalit students, one of whom, Rohith Vemula, committed suicide on January 17.
Earlier in the day, seven students of the Hyderabad Central University had resumed their hunger strike demanding Rao’s removal and Rs 50 lakh compensation for Vemula’s family.
The security personnel of the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) had on Saturday evening busted the hunger strike by students and admitted the seven fasting students to a hospital after their health condition worsened.
However, the students stressed that they would continue their protest till their five demands were met.
“We will continue our agitation until our charter of five demands is met,” a student leader said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Dr Ravindra Kumar, chief medical officer of the university’s health centre, said out of the seven students who were hospitalised on Saturday, five were asked to report in the out-patient department as their condition has improved.
The condition of two other students is stable and they are undergoing different tests in a private hospital, he said.
The student leaders had earlier announced that the indefinite hunger strike and other protests would continue until their five demands are met.
The Dalit scholar’s body was found hanging in a hostel room on HCU campus on January 17.
The students have been demanding arrest of Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya, vice-chancellor P Appa Rao and others who were named in the FIR lodged in connection with the case.
They have also asked the government to provide Rs 50 lakh compensation to Vemula’s family, besides providing a job to one of the family members.
The students association has also demanded that the suspension of facilities to four students should be revoked.
We want all the cases filed (on earlier occasions) against the four research scholars to be dropped, they said.
Meanwhile, the Joint Action Council (JAC) spearheading the protest will hold a ‘Chalo HCU’ programme on Monday.