Reacting to vociferous protests after the suicide of research scholar Rohith Vemula in its premises, the University of Hyderabad appears to be taking up a position of conciliation. The university has revoked the suspension of the four other students (apart from Rohith), against whom the action had been taken, news reports said.
"The Council, after taking into account the extraordinary situation prevailing in the university and after discussing the issue in detail, resolved to terminate the punishment imposed on the students concerned with immediate effect," HCU said in a statement.
Earlier, the Indian Express had quoted sources as saying that vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile was in favour of reducing the six-month suspension period slapped against the students. The students, including Vemula, were suspended in November last year for allegedly assaulting an ABVP leader on campus.
On Wednesday, the Aam Aadmi Party had questioned why the students from Ambedkar Students Association were suspended, while the ABVP leader who was involved in the confrontation was merely let off with a warning.
While the students were allowed to attend classes, they were however barred from entering the library, hostel, mess and other public areas, according to a Times of India report.
With the decision, the university has met one of the demands of the protesting students, who have also been demanding the prosecution of Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya.
The student's suicide has led to a situation of intense confrontation in the University of Hyderabad's campus, with twelve Dalit staffers resigning from administrative posts in the varsity. This was in response to HRD Minister Smriti Irani's statement on Wednesday contending that the death should not be made into a 'Dalit vs non-Dalit issue' and that several persons who took action against the students also belonged to 'backward' castes.
In an attempt to reduce tensions in the institutions, the vice-chancellor is expected to meet the students who have launched an agitation on Thursday. He has temporarily moved out of the campus as he has been advised by the police to stay away from the area, according to an Indian Express report.
The research scholar's alleged suicide following his suspension snowballed into a major row with BJP's rivals wading into it and demanding the removal of Irani and and Dattatreya, accusing them of being responsible for the death.
The agitating students have been demanding resignation of Dattatreya, removal of vice-chancellor, Rs 5 crore compensation to Rohith's family and employment to a member of his family, besides revocation of suspension of four students.
With inputs from PTI