Student leader Kanhaiya Kumar was on Wednesday barred from visiting the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) after he promised a “struggle” for Rohith Vemula, a Dalit Phd scholar who killed himself on campus because of alleged harassment.
Kumar, who became famous when he was charged with sedition for a speech at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, said the university’s Joint Action Committee for Social Justice (JAC) wanted the central government to have a law called the ‘Rohith Act’, which will act against caste discrimination.
“We have experience with JAC for various struggles and we will take this fight forward...this struggle will continue until ‘Rohith Act’ is implemented...to fulfil his (Rohith) dreams of social justice on the campus,” he said.
“Today, I will first meet Rohith Vemula’s mother Radhika and his brother Raja. JAC has invited me to address a public meeting on HCU campus. If police allows me then I will definitely go to HCU and address the students,” Kanhaiya told reporters at Hyderabad airport.
University vice chancellor Appa Rao Podile said Kumar didn’t have “permission” to hold a meeting. “Nobody has approached for permission. Definitely, there is no permission,” he said.
Podile’s official residence on the campus was attacked by students on Wednesday when he resumed work after a two-month leave following Vemula’s suicide on January 17.
The university has barred outsiders from the campus and suspended classes for four days to maintain peace. “In view of the situation, classes are suspended from March 23 to 26. We have taken a decision not to allow any outsider, including mediapersons and political parties, on the campus,” registrar M Sudhakar said when asked about Kumar’s plan to visit the university.
Police said additional forces have been deployed on the campus as a precautionary measure and pickets set up around Podile’s official residence.
“The situation is peaceful. Forces have been deployed to maintain law and order,” joint commissioner of Cyberabad Police TV Sashidhar Reddy said.