A clash broke out between the members of two student organisations at Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s state head office in Seshadripuram in Central Bengaluru on Thursday during a protest against the suicide of the Dalit research student Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad.
Around 30-40 students belonging to Nationals Students Union of India (NSUI) arrived at the ABVP office in Seshadripuram and raised slogans.
The protestors had gathered in large numbers in front of the ABVP office and held up placards saying “down down ABVP”, “Shame Shame ABVP”, “Dalits are not terrorists”, and others and shouted slogans against the ABVP around 11.30 am on Thursday.
The Seshadripuram police said that a case of trespassing has been registered against the NSUI activists and also a counter case registered against the ABVP activists. Clothes of a few activists belonging to both organisations were torn in the incident. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Division) Sandeep Patil said that eight persons have been arrested in connection with the clash and further probe is on.
Earlier on Thursday Hyderabad Central University (HCU) has revoked the suspension of the five research scholars, including Rohith Vemula who committed suicide on Sunday, with immediate effect, reports The Indian Express.
The decision was reportedly taken in an emergency meeting of the highest decision-making body of the university, the newspaper reports.
HCU vice chancellor Professor Appa Rao has has temporarily moved out of the university, is also expected to meet the protesting students today. Rao has reportedly been advised by the state police to stay away from the campus.
In November last year, the HCU’s Executive Council had expelled five students, all Dalits, from the hostel and barred access to public places on campus. These students were allowed to attend lectures and pursue their research in the university. The students were punished for allegedly assaulting an ABVP student leader on campus.
Rohith Vemula committed suicide on campus on Sunday, hanging himself from the ceiling fan in Room 207.
University officials are worried about the political colour that Vemula's death has taken and are eager to distance themselves, at least now, from becoming pawns operated by Delhi powers.
The government went into damage control mode on Wednesday and held a joint press conference by HRD Minister Smriti Irani, Social Justice Empowerment Minister and MoS Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman.
Irani defended herself and the ministry saying they were going by the book by issuing a letter and four reminders to Hyderabad University seeking comments/facts on the issues raised by MoS for Labour and Employment Banadaru Dattatreya as the government is under obligation to respond to ‘VIP references’’ in 30 days.
Dattatreya had written to Irani in August last year, accusing the university of being a “mute spectator” after a group of Dalit students, including Vemula who committed suicide, clashed with ABVP leader Nandanam Susheel Kumar.
Irani said, "This was not a Dalit versus non-Dalit matter."
"It is unfortunate that the caste background of all the persons has to be mentioned in the case... An attempt is being made to provoke students across the country," Irani said.
Even as Irani was addressing the media, the Aam Aadmi Party questioned her, saying, "While Rohith, Sankanna, D Prashanth, Vijay Kumar & Sesu Chemudugunta were suspended, ABVP's Kumar was let off with a warning."