A number of University of Hyderabad students called off their boycott on Tuesday after the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, an umbrella group of 14 student bodies, urged them to return to classes wearing blue ribbons on their sleeves as a mark of protest.
In spite of the student organisation making the same request to the university’s faculty members, as many as 40 Dalit teachers went on mass leave to protest a police crackdown on the students on March 22 as well as the return of vice-chancellor P Appa Rao to the university campus.
The agitators, who hold Rao responsible for the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula on January 17, have been demanding his removal and arrest.
Stating that Rao’s return has disturbed the academic routine on the campus, the student body said it was the end of the semester and an important time for students. “We appeal to students to use blue ribbons as a means of protest, declaration and reminder of the fact that our fight is still on while going about their classes, labs and other activities,” the JAC said in a statement.
Rao had gone on leave after he was named in the FIR on Vemula’s suicide. The agitation that followed cost students two weeks of their classes.
The vice-chancellor’s return on March 22 sparked a massive protest by the students, who ransacked VC Lodge on the campus. Police arrested 22 students and two faculty members and sent them to jail.
A city court granted bail to the students on Monday, and they were expected to be released the next day.