Ambedkar, Periyar, Savitribai Phule Banners Destroyed, Dalit Ghetto Demolished In University of Hyderabad
Professors and Dalit leaders are protesting against the VC; some are demanding his removal and arrest.
The University of Hyderabad (UoH) “Velivada” — Telugu for “Dalit Ghetto” — which was erected after research scholar Rohith Vemula was suspended along with his four friends from their hostel in 2015, and where Vemula spent his last days and committed suicide, has been demolished. Flex banners bearing pictures of Dr BR Ambedkar, Periyar, Savitribai Phule and other Dalit leaders were also destroyed by the administration while removing the Velivada, Deccan Chronicle reported.
UoH professors, including Dr KY Ratnam, other senior professors from Osmania University and Dalit leaders have attempted to file police cases against Podile Apparao, the vice-chancellor of UoH for the destruction of this Velivada — a symbol of resistance for Dalits and other marginalised students on campus.
“The portraits of Dr BR Ambedkar and other Dalit leaders are not mere flexis (sic) but are symbols of self-respect. It is a shame on the part of the University for dubbing Dr Ambedkar, Periyar and Phule as casteists. It must be remembered that in Maharashtra, just laying a hand on an Ambedkar statue, even led to government falling,” said Dr Ratnam.
According to the Chronicle report, organisations such as the Kula Nirmulana Porata Samithi (KNPS), the Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA), the Organisation for the Protection of Democratic Rights (OPDR), the Dalit Sena and others participated in a meeting and condemned the “atrocious acts” of Podile Apparao. They also demanded Apparao’s removal as the VC and his arrest under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
As per The News Minute, UoH registrar P Sardar Singh lodged a complaint alleging that students damaged the university’s property by carrying out digging work. 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 university’s complaint, the police are yet to act on the complaint filed by the students.
B Lakshmaiah from KNPS has given a call for “Chalo HCU” on January 17, 2019, in solidarity with the protesting students. He also demanded that Gachibowli police register an FIR against Apparao under Section 18 A of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.