Stepping up their agitation over the suicide of Hyderabad University scholar Rohith Vemula, students of JNU on Wednesday protested outside the HRD ministry demanding the removal of vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile and withdrawal of police presence from the campus.
The students, who were stopped by police as they tried to march towards the ministry, have been raising three demands in connection with the suicide of Dalit research scholar, Rohith Vemula, who was found hanging at the Hyderabad Central University’s hostel room on January 17.
A five-member delegation led by JNU students union vice-president Shehla Rashid Shora met MHRD secretary VS Oberoi and submitted a memorandum.
“Our major demands include immediate removal of police presence in Hyderabad university campus, removal of vice-chancellor and dropping of false charges against students unconditionally,” Shehla said.
“The top official told us that ministry cannot do anything about removal of the VC as it comes under the purview of the Visitor. He also said that they can’t intervene on issue of police presence as interventions are not being taken in good manner,” she added.
The fresh protests over the issue, in the wake of resumption of office by HCU vice-chancellor two-months after going on leave after the suicide of Vemula.
The VC’s residence was vandalised by students on Tuesday and police had to baton charge another group during their protest against him resuming charge.
JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, who is out on bail in a sedition case, reached Hyderabad this morning where he was scheduled to address a meeting on the campus at the invitation of the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, which had spearheaded an agitation earlier demanding “justice” for Vemula.
He was denied permission by the university.
The authorities also barred outsiders including political leaders and media persons from entering the campus and suspended classes for four days.
JNU students are embroiled in controversy over an event held on campus against the hanging of Parliament attacks convict Afzal Guru. It is alleged that ‘anti-national’ slogans were raised during the protest.
The students have been protesting in the national capital since Vemula’s death, demanding resignation of HRD minister Smriti Irani over the issue.
The students have also been demanding enactment of a “Rohith Act” to end caste-based discrimination in educational institutions.