Rohith Vemula, a twenty-six-year-old second year Ph.D. student at the University of Hyderabad, committed suicide on Sunday evening. Vemula was active in student politics but had grown increasingly silent after the disciplinary action was initiated against him by the university.Joint Action Committee (JAC) of various student groups said Rohith was highly depressed due to suspension and expulsion from the hostel. This suspension of Rohith and four other Dalit scholars were made on unclear grounds.
This led to the social boycott of the scholars. These research scholars were expelled from their hostel in December and were denied access to hostels and other buildings on the campus except their classroom, library and conferences and workshops related to their subject of study. The report says that they were evicted from their rooms in January and since then they were forced to sleep in a makeshift tent on the campus. They were also stopped to participate in the student union election.
After the news of his suicide broke, various student activist groups have expressed their solidarity and support. More than 130 scholars around the world have showed remorse and agitation regarding Vemula’s death. University authorities have shown considerable negligence in dealing with this matter which has made situations worse. At this point we can just hope for justice to prevail and student needs to be addressed by the university.
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