A two-member fact-finding committee set up by the Human Resource Development Ministry blamed the University of Hyderabad on Monday for mishandling the case of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide two weeks after he was expelled. According to the Economic Times, which accessed the panel’s report, “there was a trust deficit and a feeling of being discriminated against in certain groups of students”.
The panel has recommended that an external inquiry be set up to examine the case once more. It also said that Vemula’s family should receive compensation. The university had earlier offered them Rs 8 lakh, which they had rejected saying the Vice-Chancellor Apa Rao Podile must resign first.
The committee also said there were “gaps in several processes” that the university administration follows. In particular, the panel pointed out the the students’ grievance redressal process was inadequate and left them feeling insecure. Decisions were often made ad hoc, with no set procedure, which led students to feel distressed, the panel said. It also alleged that the university had failed to act on several notifications sent to it by the HRD ministry, though the exact nature of these letters could not be determined.
Students across the country have been protesting after Vemula killed himself. They claim he was discriminated against and was unfairly asked to leave the college after he got into an altercation with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Podile has gone on indefinite leave of absence.