More than 70 students were arrested at Hyderabad Central University as fresh protests broke out at the campus. The University has been at the center of a storm since January 17 when Rohit Vemula, a PhD student, committed suicide by hanging himself, allegedly due to being discriminated against for being a Dalit. The Vice-Chancellor of the varsity Appa Rao has been accused of abetting the suicide by encouraging caste discrimination in the campus.
The students had gathered and marched to the main gates demanding justice for the suicide and for the sacking of Prof Appa Rao who was reinstated in March after a 2 month leave. The ‘Chalo HUC’ March was organized by the Joint Action Committee For Social Justice (JAC) and included members of the Students Federation of India, the Progressive Democratic Students Union and All India Students Democratic Organization.
Holding placards asking for the sacking of the VC, Central Minister Smriti Irani and Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, the students gathered at the main gates and shouted slogans. Heavy security had been set up and barricades have been placed in anticipation of the protests. The students however tried to break open the gates and march on to the VCs office in spite of a campus ban against activists.
Police had to crackdown on the protestors and bundled more than 70 students into CPR vans. It may be recalled that 27 students and 2 faculty members were arrested on 22nd March for protesting and kept in jail for a week before being released on bail.