A fact finding panel set up by the government to investigate the suicide of a Dalit scholar at the central university in Hyderabad is likely to submit its report on Friday.
A two-member team has been interacting with students and the university’s administration and faculty to understand what transpired, sources said. More than 80 people are believed to have been interviewed.
Sources said the committee, which was set up by the human resource development ministry, found lapses in the role of the varsity’s administration, bringing it under intense scrutiny.
“The administration should be more sensitive and the vice-chancellor should have met the students when they had approached him initially. The matter should have been dealt with in a sensitive manner,” said the source, adding that the committee’s report would also focus on the severity of punishment that was meted out.
“Rather than taking such harsh decisions, the students could have been suspended for a few days. There have been a few administrative lapses on part of the university. The ministry’s role was limited and it only followed procedures,” added the source.
Rohith Vemula had hung himself on Sunday on the premises of the University of Hyderabad after a clash with the student leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student’s wing of the RSS, lead to his suspension. The ABVP leader had written a complaint to the Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya who forwarded the issue to the HRD ministry. After a probe was initiated, five Dalit scholar were suspended from the university.
On Wednesday, HRD minister Smriti Irani strongly refuted allegations of interference and exerting pressure on the central university to take action against the Dalit students, who are part of the Ambedkar Students’ Association.
Countering claims that the issue was a Dalit versus non-Dalit fight, Irani said the ABVP students who alleged they were attacked by the suspended Dalits, were from Other Backward Classes as well.