UoH Scholar Facing 'Social Boycott' Commits Suicide

Dean of students welfare, deputy registrar, security guards and ambulance attacked by angry students as tension grips the campus; police intervene to restore order

Published: 18th January 2016 05:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th January 2016 05:18 AM   |  A+A-

HYDERABAD:  In a shocking turn of events at the University of Hyderabad, one of the research scholars who was facing ‘social boycott’ and was leading an agitation against the varsity, ended his life by hanging himself in his hostel room on Sunday.

Twenty-five-year-old Rohith Vemula was found hanging in his new research scholars’ room from where he was expelled on Dec 21. Vemula, a PhD scholar in science technology and society studies, hailed from Guntur.

UoH.jpgHe left behind a five-page suicide note and chose the banner of his student organisation, Ambedkar Students Association, as the noose.  The situation at the varsity turned violent as the news of his suicide spread. Scores of students gathered at the hostel raising slogans.

Even till late night, students refused to let authorities into the hostel to remove the body. They kept his body on a table at the entrance of the hostel demanding the presence of the vice-chancellor.

Meanwhile, the dean of students welfare and deputy registrar arrived and they were attacked. The security guards and the ambulance too came under attack. Police were called in to control the situation.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Social Justice, a group formed in support of the five scholars, had started an indefinite hunger strike from Sunday. Rohith, however, had not been seen at the protest venue since afternoon.

According to friends, Rohit’s mother had called up his friend Vijay in the afternoon. As Vijay was outside he could not answer the call. Vijay later went searching for Rohith and found him hanging from the ceiling fan in the room. Rohith would have turned 26 years on January 30.

On December 21, five Dalit research scholars including Rohith were barred from being seen in groups at common places, administration building and were expelled from the hostel and disallowed from participation in student union elections.

The university has maintained that the decision was taken by the Executive Council “after carefully going through the findings of the Proctorial Board and the recommendations of the sub-committee of the Executive Council.”

Since then, the students have been staging an open protest at the ShopCom. They had accused the university administration of acting at the behest of Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya and BJP MLC N Ramachandra Rao without any inquiry into the case of a ‘scuffle’ between Ambedkar Students Association and BJP’s student wing ABVP. While all the attempts including protest demonstration and talks with the vice-chancellor failed, students had filed a writ petition in the High Court, challenging the decision of the vice-chancellor.

“After clearing the foundation exams (CPT), I started preparing for the intermediate exams (IPCC). Since I did not wish to discontinue, I was preparing for the IPCC alongside my UG course,” said Britto.

When asked about the strategies he had adopted to clear the exam which people even with five to 10 years of professional CA experience find tough, he said, “I stuck to my basic plan of studying hard for 10-12 hours on an average every day and this eventually peaked during the last few weeks of  preparation.”

Mohan Kumar was literally on cloud nine when he received a call from Manoj Fadnis, the president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), informing him about his results.

“My happiness knew no bounds when Manoj Sir called me up and told me that I had secured the all-India second rank. The call was immediately followed by another one, this time from M Devaraj Reddy, vice-president of ICAI. I was thrilled and shared the news with my family,” Mohan Kumar told Express over the phone.

Mohan, with 572 marks, secured 71.5 per cent.

Mohan Kumar’s father N Nagaraju Reddy is a farmer, while his brother Bhanuprakash has completed his B.Tech and is now working with a private company in Nellore. Kumar’s entire family celebrated his success with the villagers also joining them and profusely congratulating them for doing them all proud and bringing fame to their village.

Going forward, Mohan Kumar said, he wanted to work with a good MNC for three-four years before going for own practice.

Meanwhile, Superwhizz principal S Venkateswara Rao said along with Mohan Kumar, the institute had bagged three more ranks within the first 50 ranks.

J Harsha Sai bagged the 7th rank, M Swathi the 32nd and P Pradeep Rai secured the 50th rank at the national level.

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