Rohith Vemula suicide: Mother in hospital, VC on leave and Chalo HCU rally to begin

Vipin Srivastava, who is taking over VC duties, was an accused in the suicide of another Dalit student in 2008
Rohith Vemula suicide: Mother in hospital, VC on leave and Chalo HCU rally to begin
Rohith Vemula suicide: Mother in hospital, VC on leave and Chalo HCU rally to begin
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The mother of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit research scholar who committed suicide on the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) campus on January 17, was shifted to a hospital on Sunday in view of her health conditions.

Radhika (Rohith's mother) was shifted from the protest camp on the campus tonight and taken to a private hospital after "she complained of chest pain and heart pain. She is in ICU," Rohith's brother Raja told PTI.

Meanwhile, university Vice-Chancellor P Appa Rao, who has been heavily criticized for his alleged role in the suspension of the five Dalit research scholars, went on leave.

Vipin Srivastava, the senior-most professor, will perform the duties of the vice-chancellor, the university announced on Sunday.

"There is no pressure from anybody. It is my concern for my University. We want to resolve the issue now. There is an impasse now and to break that impasse we need to have some mechanism where I am advised to be little away from campus and somebody has to be there to be in command. We have a provision to ask a senior Professor to be in-charge and that's what we have done," he told PTI.

However, the students have intensified protests as Vipin Srivastava was an accused in the suicide of another Dalit student in 2008.

"We are shocked and dismayed at Dr Vipin Srivastava, assuming the office of Vice-Chancellor of Hyderabad Central University. Prof Srivastava has been accused in the suicide of a Dalit student, Senthil, in 2008. More recently he headed the Executive Council Sub- Committee which has been responsible for the death of Rohith Vemula Chakravarti," the SC/ST Faculty Forum and SC/ST Officers Forum said in a joint statement.

Protesting students have organized a 'Chalo HCU' on Monday, in a bid to intensify their protests against the suicide of Rohith Vemula.

Worldwide support

Support from across the world – not just from Indians abroad – has poured in for Rohit Vemula and Hyderabad Central University students who are refusing to end their protests.

A day before the ChaloHCU protest was to begin on Monday, the Ambedkar Association of North America put up photos of a march demanding an end to “institutionalised caste discrimination”.

Students in Pretoria, South Africa

On January 23, Aashish Gupta put up photos of a “condolence meeting & solidarity event for Rohit Vemula” at the University of Pennsylvania.

Scholars and activists from the Decoloniality Summer School at UNISA in Pretoria, South Africa too expressed their support for the students at Hyderabad Central University. In a statement titled “To Debrahminize is to Decolonize. Decolonization is Debrahminization”, the group said on January 22, that it stood “in solidarity” with Rohit Vemula.

Students in the University of Pennslyvania, US

A part of the caption of the photos put up by Alex Abbasi on Facebook read: “Long live the Ambedkar Students Association! Long live Dalit Bahujan Solidarity! Long live the Spirit of Rohit Vemula, Rest in Power! Death to Brahminism! Justice to Rohit Vemula and all other fighting Dalit/Bahujan students!”

Besides this, over 200 academics, research scholars, professors in various universities and institutions across the globe have signed a joint statement demanding an end to discrimination in universities. 

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