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Dalit students at a Gwalior university call off agitation after Law HoD’s resignation

Five dalit students started a protest after university administration’s denial to allow them to hold a programme ahead of Ambedkar jayanti and alleged misbehavior with them by two professors.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2017 17:00 IST
Shruti Tomar
Shruti Tomar
Gwalior, Hindustan imes
Dalit students,Law HoD,Jiwaji University
Students of Jiwaji University, Gwalior.(Shruti Tomar/HT Photo)

Dalit students at Gwalior’s Jiwaji University, protesting the alleged denial to hold a programme to mark BR Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, have called off their agitation after the head of department of law resigned from his post and the administration assured them it will look into their demands.

The students were staging a sit-in protest near the university campus for the last nine days after allegedly not being allowed to hold a programme ahead of Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14. They were also protesting the alleged misbehaviour of two professors.

The agitation came to an end after several political parties, excluding the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress, extended their support to the students and the university softened its stand towards the students.

Read: Jiwaji University, Gwalior row Tension had been building on campus since BJP victory in 2014

Vice chancellor Sangeeta Shukla called the students’ representative for a meeting on Sunday to talk about the issue. The formal declaration that the students were calling off their agitation came only on Monday after Ganesh Dubey resigned from his post.

The university told the students it will look into their demands to name the law department after Ambedkar, revoke the suspension of five students and withdraw police complaints against them. The students also assured they would withdraw their police complaints against Pandey and proctor RK Sharma.

Five Dalit students started an indefinite fast on April 1 to protest the “casteist mindset of the administration and suppression of democracy on the campus by right-wing organisations such as Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)”.

A girl student also lodged a complaint against the two professors for allegedly inflicting atrocities on them under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, and also for sexual harassment.

The university too lodged a police complaint against the five students for misbehaving and manhandling the professors and indulging in violence on the campus.

It alleged the students’ agitation was influenced by former Jawaharlal Nehru University student’s union president Kanhaiya Kumar and Rohith Vemula’s suicide at University of Hyderabad. The university also alleged the Dalit students’ act amounted to anti-national activities and that they were just looking for publicity.

The row between the two sides took a saffron angle after students alleged they were being victimised and ridiculed by the RSS’ students’ wing ABVP on the campus and the university supported them instead of taking any action.

University PRO BR Sisodia said Pandey resigned from his post on his own after the students called off their protest.

Pradeep Jodhpuriya, a students’ representatives, said they were happy that the university administration finally heard them and assured them that it will fulfill their demands in 15 days.

First Published: Apr 10, 2017 11:37 IST