Kanhaiya Kumar had returned without speaking at the University of Hyderabad. Earlier the JAC University of Hyderabad asked JNU Students Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar to come and address a public meeting on the university campus. But following the arrest of 30 students charged with vandalizing the office of the university’s top official, Vice Chancellor Prof. Appa Rao, Kanhaiya was stopped from being entering the University premises.
Kanhaiya Kumar, the Delhi student who was arrested on sedition charges, was not allowed to enter the Hyderabad University where Rohith Vemula, a dalit student who hanged himself in his hostel a month after alleging caste discrimination. The university, tense after clashes yesterday, had said no outsiders would be allowed on campus.
University officials said they had not granted permission for the event, which was to take place in a section where a makeshift memorial for Mr Vemula has been constructed. Unable to enter the campus, Kumar delivered a short speech at the university’s main gates. ‘How many Rohith’s will you kill?’ alleging that students are being refused the right to dissent. Before arriving at the university, Mr Kumar met Vemula’s mother and vowed ‘to get justice’ for the Ph.D. scholar who ended his life.
The students say that the Vice Chancellor should be fired because he did not intervene when Mr Vemula complained of caste discrimination a month before he ended his life. The Vice Chancellor returned to work yesterday; he had proceeded on leave amid the outrage that followed Rohith Vemula’s suicide. Kumar and Rohith’s friends want an urgent legislation dubbed ‘The Rohith Act’ to check and punish caste discrimination at colleges.
The determined Kanhaiya said to the reporters at the airport that the campus campaign is to ensure social justice. I will meet Rohith Vemula’s mother and his brother and chalk out an action plan. As a tense standoff persisted on the UoH campus, Left party members who are overseeing the arrangements of Kanhaiya’s meeting and movements, are mulling alternative plans because Kanhaiya’s meeting plan has been scrapped. One of the alternatives is a press conference, according to sources.
Mr Kumar’s arrest last month from Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University sponsored a fierce national debate on whether the government is trying to crush dissent and free speech. After he was released from jail, Kumar delivered a gripping speech at JNU, declaring Rohith Vemula his hero. Recently, show-cause notice was issued to 21 students of JNU following their participation in Afzal Guru event.