Caste discrimination
Vallabhaneni Damodar Naidu was arrested on Sunday under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Image: angrau.ac.in

The Vice-Chancellor of Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) Vallabhaneni Damodar Naidu was arrested on Sunday under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. In a complaint, a former employee of the university has alleged that the VC abused him ‘in the name of his caste’, according to The New Indian Express. The Vice-Chancellor has reportedly been sent to judicial custody for 15 days.  

Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University is a public agricultural university located in the Lam village of Guntur district, a part of the capital region. 

Deccan Chronicle reported that the complaint was made by a man named Uyyala Muralikrishna, who had been working as an attender at the university. Muralikrishna, who was appointed in 2016, was dismissed in April 2019, reportedly without any prior intimation. 

Muralikrishna returned with a friend to meet the Vice-Chancellor and requested him for his reappointment. 

After the meeting concluded, Muralikrishna lodged a complaint with the Thullur police alleging caste-based threats by Naidu. According to The New Indian Express, a case was registered by the police on Thursday, but they arrested the Vice-Chancellor on Sunday after obtaining CCTV footage of the office in the Secretariat where the incident was alleged to have taken place. 

According to the university website, Naidu holds a Doctoral degree in Plant Pathology and was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow trained at Directorate of Rice Research, Hyderabad. In the past, he has held other administrative positions like Head of Agricultural Research Station, Nellore for 12 years, and has been the University Head of Plant Pathology Department for over 2 years. 

The New Indian Express reported that former minister and TDP leader Jawahar “accused the police of filing a false case against Damodar Naidu”, and has questioned the Vice Chancellor’s arrest without the Governor’s consent.