The Delhi Police on Monday detained around 70 students who were protesting outside the Human Resource Development Ministry's office over the suicide of a Dalit research scholar of Hyderabad Central University. The students, who were part of the All India Students Association, the Students Federation of India and the Congress-backed National Students Union of India were seeking HRD minister Smriti Irani's intervention in the case, reported PTI. The police said they had to resort to using water cannons after the protest turned violent when the students tried to jump over barricades and attacked security personnel.
The Hyderabad Police earlier filed a First Information Report against Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad Appa Rao Podile under the SC/ST Act in connection with the suicide case of the 25-year-old student. Times Now reported they were charged with abetment to suicide of Rohith Vemula, a former PhD student at the university.
Vemula was expelled from the university in August last year after he and four other students assaulted Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad leader Susheel Kumar. Students alleged that Dattatreya had written to the Human Resource Development Ministry, demanding the suspension of the five scholars. Vemula committed suicide by hanging himself on Sunday. HRD Minister Smriti Irani said a two-member fact-finding team will submit a report on the matter.
The Times of India reported that Vemula had demanded he be reinstated, and that a Joint Action Committee for Social Justice was formed by university students after the five expelled scholars were denied entry into various parts of the campus. The JAC had gone on strike on Sunday after a proctorial board took the final decision to expel the students. Vemula committed suicide shortly after.