Students from the University of Hyderabad (UoH) along with several activists and organisations on Monday held a round table meeting over the Velivada on campus being pulled down and demanded that Vice-Chancellor Podile Appa Rao be sacked, amid the ongoing row.
The round table meeting was hosted by the Rohith Vemula Struggle and Solidarity Committee and included several human rights organisations and professors from UoH as well as Osmania University. Those who had gathered, also objected to the move of the administration to remove the portraits of Dr B R Ambedkar and other Dalit leaders while pulling down the Velivada.
The Velivada (Dalit Ghetto) was a temporary structure in the campus, which was erected after research scholar Rohith Vemula was suspended along with his four friends from their hostel in 2015. The temporary structure under a tent had portraits of anti-caste icons like Jyotirao Phule, Savitribai, Dr BR Ambedkar, Periyar, Ayyankali and others. After Rohithâ€™s suicide, which sparked a massive Dalit movement across the country, his bust was installed next to the tent. The Velivada has been a symbol of resistance for Dalit and other marginalised community students on campus.
The Velivada has been in the news again this month, after the administration pulled down the tent.
In the latest round table meeting, activists and students called for a 'Chalo HCU' event on January 17, to protest against the administration's decision. Narayan Rao from the Civil Liberties Committee (CLC) said that the University was creating disturbances to students in order to prevent them from demanding justice for Rohith Vemula.
Lakshmaiah from the Kula Nirmulana Porata Samithi (KNPS) demanded that the Gachibowli police must immediately register an FIR against Appa Rao under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, a demand which was supported by almost all those who had gathered.
Just last week, the protesting students and the administration filed police complaints against each other. UoH registrar P Sardar Singh lodged a complaint with the Gachibowli police, alleging that students damaged the universityâ€™s property by carrying out digging work. In response, the students filed a complaint against Vice Chancellor Podile Appa Rao.
While a case has been registered under Section 427(Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of the IPC against the students on the universityâ€™s complaint, the police is yet to act on the complaint filed by the students.