A year after University of Hyderabad (UoH) research scholar Rohith Vemula wrote to the varsity's vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile, seeking 'euthanasia' to all Dalit students on campus, students held a protest meeting on Sunday.
Besides burning an effigy, the four Dalit research scholars, who were suspended with him, shot off a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee, demanding that Appa Rao be removed from his post.
Stating that there was a direct link between the VC's actions and Vemula's suicide, the memorandum also appeals for the implementation of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in the criminal case against the varsity authorities, that was filed by the students and is pending in the High Court.
"We had hoped that Rohith Vemula's death would stir the conscience of the government and law enforcement agencies and result in the swift delivery of justice... In fact, they witch-hunted Rohith Vemula's mother Radhika Vemula who declared a fight against BJP and Appa Rao Podile seeking justice for her son," the letter reads.
"No action has been initiated in order to provide justice to him. We have lost complete faith in the state government apparatus, in the chief minister of Telangana, in the BJP-led Centre and on MHRD. The MHRD three member committtee has already proved the culpability of the vice-chancellor but chose not to act," Dontha Prashanth, one of the students suspended with Vemula, was quoted as saying.
Rohith had committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling of a hostel room in the university on January 17, 2016.
Following a huge political storm, the Roopanwaala Commission had been formed by the HRD Ministry to look into the circumstances leading to Rohithâ€™s death.
In October, the report submitted its findings which blamed Rohithâ€™s â€śown problemsâ€ť and unhappiness with â€śworldly affairsâ€ť for his suicide, absolving union ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani as only discharging their duties.
It also made several allegations, including that Rohithâ€™s mother, Radhika, "branded" herself a Dalit to avail the benefits of reservation.
The students have since termed the report an attempt to shield two Union ministers and the Vice Chancellor in the suicide case.