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Rohith Vemula suicide: 5 demands of protesting students

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Mona Ramavat
Mona RamavatJan 20, 2016 | 13:28

Rohith Vemula suicide: 5 demands of protesting students

These are demands laid out by students protesting at the University of Hyderabad following Rohith Vemula's suicide. They have stated that they will not let the normal functioning of classes until these demands are met.

1. Resignation and arrest of vice-chancellor

As the voices of protests grew stronger on Tuesday, the resignation of vice chancellor, professor Apparao Podile was high on the agenda. Slogans against the vice chancellor have been loud and uninhibited for the last few days, with a top grouse being that he didn’t come to see the dead body of Rohith Vemula, nor meet his family later.

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He is blamed by students to have been influenced by the ministry of HRD and minister for labour, Bandaru Dattatreya to have the five students including Vemula, expelled.

2. Sacking of BJP minister

Protesting students were seen demonstrating in front of Bandaru Dattatreya’s house as an extension of the anti-BJP sentiment on campus. His "casteist, extremist and anti-national" remark describing the recent atmosphere in the university, in a letter written to the HRD minister Smriti Irani, has been brought up repeatedly. They blame these external influences as being directly responsible for Vemula’s death.

3. Rs 50 lakh compensation for Rohith's family

An amount of Rs fifty lakh is being demanded for Rohith’s family. He’s supposed to have written in his suicide note that he hadn’t been receiving his stipends, which amounted to Rs 1.75 lakh for the last few months and requested that this amount be disbursed to his family. Rohith’s mother, a tailor is said to be the only earning member of the family and this monetary compensation would make a significant difference to their life, was the consensus.

4. Government employment for a family member of Rohith

Employment support for the family was another vehement demand. Rahul Gandhi said in his speech that a bright young life is lost and a promising future as well. It is now our responsibility to give the family that future.

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5. Suspension of ABVP leader Susheel Kumar

While the protesting students demand that the expulsion of the Dalit students be revoked, they have also asked for the suspension of Susheel Kumar.

"All the culprits responsible should be penalised," said PhD scholar and president of the students union, Zuhail K P, who has been on relay hunger strike along with many other students as part of the protests. He further added, "this kind of situation should not happen again, and therefore these strong and concrete demands. A student ending his life doesn’t seem to be a rarity in this university anymore. We will keep fighting till we get justice."

It is the shared angst of the students that reflected in his words as he said, "After all, the V-C is our faculty and he has to come and address us. He doesn’t seem willing to do that. So when the administration is not willing to listen to us, we can’t say for how long we will continue protesting."

When asked about this disrupting the normal functioning of the university for other students, he said, "the protest is going on for a genuine cause. Until and unless the administration comes out from hiding, where is the question of the normal day to day functioning of the university anyway?"

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Last updated: January 20, 2016 | 13:28
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