India – Statements in response to the death of Rohith Vemula
January 29, 2016
In the aftermath of the institutional murder of Rohith
The Questions we need to answer for Annihilation of Caste!
Statement release by All India Anti-Caste Forum, University Community for Democracy and Equality (UCDE) and Naujawan Bharat Sabha (NBS)
The institutional murder of the brilliant research scholar and progressive activist Rohith Chakravarthy Vemula has caused a tremendous unrest amongst the students and youth of the country. Not only students and youth from various universities, educational institutions and cities but also concerned citizens from all over the country have taken to streets demanding justice for Rohith. As we know Rohith was a student activist associated with the Ambedkar Students Association and a research scholar who had committed suicide on January 17. But Rohith’s death is not a suicide but a cold-blooded institutional murder.
Who Killed Rohith?
Rohith and his friends were active against the Sanghi goons and Fascists in the Hyderabad campus. They openly denounced the acts of awarding capital punishments to all alleged terrorists in the garb of appeasing the collective conscience of the masses, they protetsed against beef ban, they organized a screening of the film ‘Muzzafarnagar Baaqi Hai’ which exposes the real face of the communal Fascist saffron brigade, they fought against the caste-based oppression by various Brahminical and Fascist forces active in the campus. As a result, Rohith and his friends had become a threat to the Fascist and Brahminical forces in the campus. As a consequence, taking into cognizance a false complaint of an activist of Sanghi Student organization,
Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya wrote to Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani to take action in this matter. Consequently, a series of five letters were written by the HRD ministry to Hyderabad Central University pressurizing the university adminstration to expel Rohith Vemula and few of his friends. Rohith’s NET fellowship had been stopped since July 2015 citing some official reasons. Rohith hailed from a working class household and a significant portion of his family’s expenses was met by his fellowship. It can be understood what kind of economic pressure was mounted on Rohith by the University. After this Rohith and his friends were thrown out from their hostels and they were expelled from the University. They were banned from entering the hostel and all the public spaces on the campus. After being targeted and harassed in this way by the university administration, Rohith slowly went into depression and ultimately committed suicide taking with him his beautiful dreams of exploring science, nature and the world of stars. Now BJP is referring to the fact that Rohith in his suicide note had not put the blame on the Government. But everyone is aware of the contents of the letter that Rohith had written to the University administration after being fed up with the oppression and telling the university to provide sodium azide (poison) and a rope to all dalit students at the time of admission. It needs to be noted that in the last one decade itself 9 dalit students have committed suicide at Hyderabad Central University and if one takes into account institutions of higher education in the country, since 2007 around 18 dalit students have taken their lives. Almost all of these students hailed from working class households and lower middle class families. From delay in assigning Research guides or showing inability to provide one at all to delaying all other significant or trivial official academic works has been the general demeanor of the administration at Hyderabad Central University towards dalit students. Even amongst the students there exists a segregation between the dalit and non-dalit students. In this scenario anyone can fathom the reasons which led to the development of a sense of alienation between mind and body even in a brilliant and sensitive student like Rohith. Rohith was a sensitive, rebellious and conscientious individual who was living in a system and a society that reduces ‘every man to his immediate identity, to a vote, to a thing’; where a man’s identity is not based on his ideas and philosophy but his caste and his economic background. In a society ruled by a Government which decides what people can and cannot eat, which propagates barbaric frenzy amongst the people based on their religion and their caste; which serves the interests of the corporate houses to prepare a ground for economic exploitation and social oppression of the poor, dalits, minorities, tribals and women; where myths are propagated as scientific truths in Science Congress and no one objects and where the Chief Scientist of ISRO shares stage with Sanghi barbarians and flaunts a Fascist salute. Rohith started a committed fight against all this. Despite being associated first with student front of a parliamentary Left party and later with an Amberkarite student organization and despite help from his comrades, he found himself alone. A sensitive, justice loving and conscientious youth like Rohith found himself in a system and a society which made him consider his own birth as a ‘fatal accident’. And in the end he chose to find solace in death. Rohith Vemula’s unsuspecting murder has put a question mark on this entire system and it is this very question that is agitating the students and youth of the country today. But why was the entire government with its massive machinery hounding Rohith and his friends in this manner? What was Rohith’s crime?
What was Rohith and his friends crime?
The biggest crime of Rohith and his friends was that they not only raised their voice against the communal Fascists in their university campus that are in power today but also mobilized and organized students against their politics of communalism, caste-based oppression and Fascism. Amongst the various characteristics of Fascism, one of the most important is that it cannot tolerate any kind of political dissent. This is the reason behind crushing the reasonable and valid demands of the students of FTII, sacking a Gandhian teacher Sandeep Pandey by the BHU alleging him of being a Naxalite and anti-national, not allowing Siddharth Varadarajan to deliver a talk at Allahabad University, targeting Arundhati Roy for a constitutional act of advocating the rights of a political prisoner. And this is the reason why Hyderabad Central University administration was penalising and harassing Rohith and his friends at the behest of the central government. Rohith and his friends had become a threat for the Sanghi lumpen goons. This is the most important reason why the entire government was after Rohith and his friends.
The second reason for Rohith and his friends being targetted by the government was the fact that they were dalits and came from a vulnerable and weaker section of the society. This made it easier for the government to harass and oppress them in this naked and immoral way. Here it is noteworthy that Rohith belonged to a working class family. This made his postion even more vulnerable. The incumbent Fascist government is crushing all kinds of political dissent with barbarism, either by using the official government machinery or by using its unofficial brigade of hoodlums and hooligans. For them it is relatively easy to target Muslims and other religious minorities and specially dalits. The lynching of Akhlaq, beef ban and other fabricated lies leading to the murder of the members various religious minorities stand in testimony to this. Rohith’s institutional murder also corroborates this. It is evident that for the incumbent Fascist government in particular and other oppressive governments in general, dalits are ‘soft targets’ because they come from an already vulnerable section of the society. The effect of the rampant caste-based discrimination, prejudices and brahminical heirarchical and supremacist ideology in the society ensures the fact that people from backward castes and to an extent dalits can be killed with virtual impunity. Do Bathani Tola, Lakshmanpur Bathe, Khairlanji, Mirchpur, Gohana, Bhagana incidents not stand witness to this fact? Economic oppression and social persecution get intertwined and enhance each other. Those who view economic exploitation and social oppression as two separate things and advocate two different kinds of ideologies to combat them, neither understand economic exploitation nor social oppression. Nor do they understand that any such project of social-political change primarily demands a scientific approach and method and not a pragmatic mixture or integration of mutually opposite or incompatible ideologies.
Rohith Vemula’s crime was that despite being a dalit, coming from a vulnerable and weaker section of society, he not only proved his intellectual prowess in an institution of higher education and showed exceptional potential, but he also raised his voice against the hegemony of the elite, Fascist and brahminical ideologies and became a threat to them. Rohith’s suicide is an act of rebellion, possibly a desperate rebellion, yet an act of rebellion and in this way even after his death Rohith has not ceased to challenge the system.
The limitations of the Identitarian perspective of struggle for justice for Rohith and the question of the correct viewpoint
The struggle for Justice for Rohith Vemula is continuing in various campuses and cities of the country. Seven of our friends at Hyderabad Central University have been sitting on an indefinite hunger strike for more than 10 days now. Protest demonstrations are being organized throughout the country. The demand of resignation of Smriti Irani is being raised which is justified. Besides, the demand to sack the VC of Hyderabad Central University for his role in Rohith’s institutional murder is also being raised. But despite all these justified demands, there are a few problems in the present struggle that face us and without resolving these problems, ultimately we will be strengthening the Right-wing Fascist brahminical forces.
In the words of Rohith himself, his individuality, ideas and struggle should not be reduced to his immediate identity. Not just because Rohith was against this but because this ultimately delivers a fatal blow to the struggle for annihilation of caste. The struggle for justice for Rohith that we have undertaken today and the struggle that Rohith and his friends have been fighting in the Hyderabad Central University against the Fascist brahminical forces is a political and ideological struggle. It is neither a struggle of identities and nor should it be turned into one. This battle cannot be fought standing on the identitarian ground. The biggest proof of how the incumbment government is using this to their advantage is that now BJP and the Sangh are advertising the caste identity of the student member of Sanghi student outfit on whose false complaint Rohith and his friends were persecuted. Smriti Irani gave a statement saying that the other helpless (!) student is being targeted because he is an OBC! In this way the Fascists are retaliating to the act of reducing this political struggle to dalit identity by the progressive forces, that is, by using the OBC caste identity of the student who filed the false complaint against Rohith and his friends. In fact, according to Ambedkerite politics, OBC are friends of the dalits and by integrating these two sections, ‘Bahujan Samaj’ is formed. But anyone who closely follows the incidents of caste-based violence and oppression in this country for many decades can tell you that the principal perpetrators of atrocities on poor and working class dalits from Haryana to Maharahstra, Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu have been rich farmer castes belonging to the OBC. How can one today implement the idea of establishing unity of Shudra castes and dalits on the basis of identity? Does establishing a unity of the so-called ‘Bahujan Samaj’ on the basis of caste-based identitites in the country make sense today, anywhere from Uttar pradesh to Haryana, from Bihar to Maharahstra, from Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu? These are the questions that need contemplation.
The reality of Caste is one of the main realities of our society. To consider Caste-based oppression as merely social oppression is a fatal blunder. To reduce it to the world of social-cultural values and Hindu religion is also a big mistake. Caste-based oppression acts as a very powerful tool of converting economic exploitation into super-exploitation. And economic exploitation and plunder in turn give rise to even more horrible forms of caste-based oppression. The recent incidents of atrocities against dalits and murders of dalits in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan are a testimony to this fact. This is the reason why the struggle for annihilation of caste and struggle of tribals cannot reach its point of culmination inside the ambit of a profit-driven capitalist system which thrives on the loot and exploitation of the labour of working masses as well as the Nature. At the same time, it must be emphasized that without launching an immediate political, economic and social struggle for annihilation of caste right from today, without laying the foundation of a powerful anti-caste cultural movement, without starting an uncomprimising struggle against supersititions, religious dogmas; there can be no revolutionary unity of the working classes through which the task of revolutionary transformation of ideology, politics and society can be accomplished. It is also true that in bourgeois electoral politics casteism and brahminism provide the ruling classes with a powerful instrument to divide the prize of plunder amongst themselves and even more than that it helps them to create caste divide and segregation among the working classes that are already plagued with caste-based prejudices. And precisely because of this, annihilation of caste is not possible within the realm of capitalist system. It also needs to be understood that without establishing militant anti-caste and working class-based movements today it will be very difficult to establish a unity required to smash this capitalist system. Whereas on the one hand, a strong struggle against religious dogmas, values, superstitions and brahminical hegemony is the need of the hour, on the other, there is an equal need to view this struggle as an integral part of, and to make it an integral part of the struggle against the entire oppressive-exploitative political, economic and social system.
Those who think that dalit oppression and the caste question can be resolved through gradual economic and political reforms seriously need to retrospect the past. They need to look at what has been achieved through the entire history of the constitutional reforms and those social movements that view the struggle for annihilation of caste as separate from the political struggle against the system and the state. Those who think that there should be one ideology for caste annihilation (in the area of social oppression) and another different revolutionary ideology for the economic and systemic change, need to understand that in our society caste-based oppression also has a class dimension to it. Even where caste-based oppression appears to be completely autonomous of class relations, there too for the annihilation of caste it is imperative to make it a part of the class-based struggle. Merely from the identitarian perspective, religious reforms or religious conversions, separated from the revolutionary struggle of political state, it is not possible to bring about annihilation of caste by the means of anti-caste socio-cultural movements.
This is the reason why we also need to abandon the identity politics for the struggle of justice for Rohith Vemula. Have we already not sustained huge damage due to this politics of identity? Has not this identity politics already provided enough fuel to the politics of Fascist and brahminical hegemony? We humbly propose that we need to contemplate these questions with utmost seriousness to advance in the right direction of struggle for justice for Rohith. The need to make the entire project of annihilation of caste an integral part of the class struggle and the project of revolutionary transformation has become more pressing than ever. The revolutionary movement of India has been unsuccessful in carrying out this task and this failure has been responsible for the flourishing and proliferation of identity politics. There cannot be a more opportune time to rectify this mistake and only this can be our true revolutionary tribute to Rohith.
Down with Casteism!
Down with Capitalism!
Down with Fascism!
You can kills all the flowers, but you cannot stop the spring from coming!
Our history textbooks in school always used to refer to some immediate causes and certain long-term causes behind any historical event. In time, we learnt to walk past the immediacies, and focus more on the long term. Rohith Vemula’s suicide, or rather his institutional murder in the University of Hyderabad (UoH) is also a historic event. And if we walk past certain immediacies, the lies, and the jugglery of words by the MHRD, RSS, ABVP and BJP, then we would find that several different pathways, several different streams of events converged to culminate into this murder. On first glance these different pathways may seem disjointed to our naked eyes, but when looked through the
prism of history one cannot miss the interconnections.
On 30th July 2015, Yakub Memon was hanged by the Indian state in yet another display of travesty of justice at the altar of “war on terror”. Unable to get Tiger Memon or Dawood Ibrahim, showing the worst kind of vendetta, the state chose to hang Yakub who was not part of the conspiracy and in fact had completely co-operated with the entire investigation. Rohith Vemula in UoH was among the several democratic voices across the country who protested against the judicial murder of Yakub. In September 2013, a meticulously orchestrated assault in collusion with the state machinery took the lives of around 150 Muslims in Muzaffarnagar while more than a lakh were displaced and forced to leave their villages. The screening of a documentary made by Nakul Sawhney titled “Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai” that unravels the blood lust of the hindutva forces was disrupted physically and vandalized by the ABVP goons in Delhi University in August 2015. In protest, Rohith along with his comrades in ASA organized a protest screening of the same in UoH. Be it protesting against Yakub Memon’s hanging or by screening the anti-sangh documentary, Rohith and his friends raised their voices against the violence perpetrated by the state. They fought to stand by truth and justice and most importantly refused to be a part of the cannibal “collective conscience” that justifies state sponsored violence, legitimnises murders and atrocities and keep this brahminical status
In September 2015, just a month later, Appa Rao, a loyal lapdog of the brahmanical hindutva fascist sangh was appointed as Vice Chancellor in HCU. The ruling BJP – its MPs and even the MHRD – ordered the puppet VC to take strictest and exemplary action against the Dalit students for their above “anti-national” activities to which the VC complied flouting all previous institutional decisions. The punishment that was meted out to the 5 Ambedkarite activists of restricting their access to libraries, cafeteria, administrative building and restricting their fellowship, amounts to nothing less than a social boycott. Protests started in UoH against this unjust administrative action at the behest of the current dispensation at the centre. But as the UoH administration looked the other way even after almost two weeks into the protest, Rohith was forced to end his life. So, many paths converged to lead to Rohith’s murder on 17th January 2016. On final count it is the tightening noose of the anti-Dalit, anti-Muslim, anti-student, anti-people, brahmanical-hindutva fascism that took Rohith’s life.
The All-Pervasive Monster of Caste: Amidst the initial shameful defence to now the pathetic attempts at cover up and crocodile tears by the sangh, BJP & PM Modi, a desperate attempt to deny that caste and caste discrimination had a role to play in Rohith’s death has remained unchanged. Anyone familiar with Rohith’s politics and activism would not be surprised by this denial. At one level, Rohith’s suicide can be seen in continuation with the spate of several other suicides of dalit students across the country in the face of harassment, caste discrimination and abuse (In UoH alone 8 dalit students have committed suicide over the last less than a decade). But, at another level, it is also different. Rohith was not just an ordinary student, he was an Ambedkarite who through his activism roused people to educate, agitate and organise. He and his comrades, through their activism made visible what the Hindutva brigade tries to invisibilise in its attempts to forge a “Hindu” unity, i.e, the all-pervasive monster of caste and the deeply graded inequalities within what is called as Hinduism. His “crime” became greater when he reached out to the “evil other” – the Muslims and spoke of their oppression vis-à-vis whom the Hindutva brigade tries forge this bogey of “Hindu unity”. His “crime” became too much to tolerate for sangh when by opposing the medieval practice of capital punishment and unjust hanging of Yakub Memon, Rohith and his comrades questioned the deeply masculinist, militarized, security centric and Brahmanical Indian state. These ideas destabilized the Brahmanical-Hindutva fascist sangh’s vision of a ‘Hindu nation’, and therefore all of them – from ABVP, BJP ministers, the casteist VC and the MHRD – colluded to crack down on him and his comrades resulting ultimately in his institutional murder. But as Neruda puts it, you can destroy all the flowers, but you cannot stop the spring from coming! And ideas cannot be killed.
In his life as well as in his death, Rohith did not only destabilize the RSS’s vision of a ‘Hindu nation’, He also destabilizes those who swear by the rule of law, or the constitution or by this farce of a democracy and who believe that caste is merely a vestige of the past. Rohith’s murder, like that of the suicides of innumerable other Dalit students, their institutionalized discrimination, the oppression and persecution, the dalit massacres and subsequent acquittals of their murderers – all point towards the fact that far from the constitution, it is the writ of Manu in tandem with that of the market that runs in the name of democracy. And with the tightening of the brahmanical hindutva fascist tentacles, today, we see voices of reason, democracy and protest across the country being brutally silenced. This undeclared emergency has also reached the universities. We have seen it in the ban on the Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle in IIT-Madras, to the saffron appointments in FTII to the almost regular attacks by ABVP on those who stand up against their Brahmanical-fascist agenda. As they try to turn our universities into prison houses, it is our responsibility rise up in rage collectively against Brahmanism, hindutva fascism and for annihilation of caste. Rohith has been martyred at a cross-road of history while fighting these tightening tentacles. It is onto us to prove that he was more than one and that we are more than not just five but in fact more than a million.
At the call of Joint Action Committee for Social Justice
Join Protest March to MHRD, 27th Jan, Wed, from Mandi House, 1 pm
– Amir, Anirban, Aswathi, Anwesha, Deepti, Komal, Umar, Ufaque, Samar,Balakrishnan, Hamid, Sri Lakshmi, Reyazul, Rubina
Statement from academics
Download (PDF, 134KB)
COMMITTEE FOR PROTECTION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS – TAMIL NADU
The recent suicide by Rohith Vemula, a Dalit research scholar at the University of Hyderabad (UoH), and the circumstances leading up to that have shocked the entire nation, and led to a widespread public protest. He was one of the five members of Ambedkar Student Association (ASA), who had been institutionally ostracised by the UoH administration, following an alleged altercation with local ABVP after ASA had organised protests against the hanging of Yaquib Memon and against the vandalism by ABVP during the screening of ‘Muzzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai’ in Delhi University. As per media reports, the Executive Council of UoH took a decision of suspending the students which was revoked later, only to be reintroduced as social boycott, following pressures from Bandaru Dattatreya, Union Cabinet Minister of State for Labour and Employment and the Ministry from Human Resource Development, without any investigation
CPDR-TN strongly condemns the act of the University administration on the students in this manner, and also the intervention by ministers of the central government, which led to this cruel death. We express our condolences to the family and friends of Rohith Vemula, at this moment of grief.
CPDR-TN insists that all social discrimination inflicted upon the students in the name of discipline should be stopped forthwith. Cohesive atmosphere for the students to debate all socio economic and political cause of society should be provided. All interventions from the governments centre or state in the students affair and coercing the administrations to encourage a specific political lineage should be stopped forthwith.
CPDR-TN observes that since the recent government has come to power, there have been widespread incidents of attempt to clamp down on any voices of dissent, including in academic institutions, by often labelling them as “anti-nationals”. Trying to curb the act of ASA in raising the issue of minorities was nothing but an act of intolerance by the right wing forces that wield the support of the administration and the governments that be.
CPDR-TN observes that the act of administration in socially boycotting the students hailing from the oppressed dalit caste is nothing but a form of neo-untouchability within the academic institutions. CPDR-TN insists that those responsible for the decision of social boycott if prevailed, whosover it may be, whether the ministers or university administrators, should be prosecuted.
CPDR-TN observes that the death of Rohit vemula, is not a suicide, but an institutional murder. Earlier there have been 10 instances of suicide of which seven were dalits. So, we strongly observe that all this deaths are not suicides but due to administrative practices and casteist, anti minority approach.
CPDR-TN considers that activism is an integral part of student life and the students from the oppressed community are always in the forefront of the struggle as their natural response. As per our Indian republican constitution the right to organize, right to assemble, right to freedom of expression are guaranteed as inalienable rights. So, students have every rights for democratic space. Curbing these rights in any form is blatantly unconstitutional.
CPDR-TN observes that the order of social boycott imposed on the members of ASA actually smacks of a casteist mindset of the UoH administration. CPDR-TN observes that suspension of students from the hostel for entertaining their freedom of expression is a heinous and inhumane act. By penalizing the students, the rightwing intellectuals have only exposed their inability to dislodge their social discrimination baggage carried.
CPDR-TN joins all other democratic voices in the country who have come out in protest as well as express solidarity with the continuing struggles of the students, faculty and non-academic staff at UoH.
Dr.Nandi Joseph (President) S. Gopal (General Secretary)
KRANTIKARI YUVA SANGATHAN (KYS) PRESS RELEASE
KYS PROTESTS AT CENTRAL PARK AGAINST THE INSTITUTIONAL (aatm)HATYA OF ROHITH VEMULA!
PROTESTING STUDENTS DETAINED AT PARLIAMENT STREET POLICE STATION! STUDENTS LATHICHARGED INSIDE POLICE STATION, WOMEN STUDENTS GROPED BY POLICEMEN IN CIVIL DRESS! PARLIAMENT STREET POLICE STATION DENIES TO ACCEPT COMPLAINT LETTER FROM WOMEN STUDENTS!
DEMANDS DISMISSAL OF HRD MINISTER AND LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT MINISTER IMMEDIATELY!
The activists of Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS) along with intellectualls and progressive and democratic citizens gathered in huge numbers at Central Park(Rajeev Chowk) to protest against the abetment of suicide of a Dalit Research Scholar, Rohith Vemula at the University of Hyderabad, by the Union Government and communal organization Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). Protesting students were detained at Parliament Street Police Station where they were lathi charged inside the police station and women students and female activists were groped by policemen in civil dress. When activists and students asked their identity card he was helped by the police administration to flee. We believe these are attempts of intimidating female students from coming out in front to protest. Parliament Street Police Station has denied to accept even the complaint letter by activists and students.
It should be known that the University administration of Hyderabad University had expelled 5 Dalit students, all belonging to the Ambedkar Students Association for being ‘casteist’, ‘extremist’ and ‘Anti-national’. Notable is the shameful role of BJP Minister of Labour and Employment, on whose insistence, the MHRD sent five letters and directed the V-C to take action against the students.
This incident is not an isolated one. Since the BJP government has come in power at the Centre, the casteist forces have become powerful. Active patronage is being given by the Government which itself is composed of right-wing casteist elements to these forces. And hence the rise in atrocities against the Dalit community across the country such as in Faridabad, Abohar, Dankaur to cite a few examples. It is amply known that casteist forces continue to make life miserable for the Dalit community in the country. What is shocking in this incident is the active connivance of the state to install casteist ideology in the University Space, by promoting right-wing forces i.e. ABVP.
Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS) strongly condemns the role of the Union Government and its ministers in abetting the suicide of Rohith Vemula and promoting casteist elements. The Casteist and Anti-Dalit character of the current government lies exposed. KYS has demanded an immediate dismissal of HRD minister and Labour and Employment minister from their post and has resolved to intensify its struggle against casteist terrorism.
Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS).
Rohith Vemula’s Death- An Orchestrated murder by Sangh Parivar, MHRD
Statement by Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle, IIT-M
Suicide (as stated by media but it is not so) of Dalit Research Scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University Campus has strangulated the entire democratic voices of this country. It once again exposed the repressive role of Brahminical State apparatus and Hindutva fascism against oppressed masses and working classes! The scholar was a member of Ambedkar Student Association (ASA), where his group exposed the pre-planned role of RSS in Muzaffarnagar riot through screening the documentary titled ‘Muzaffarnagar baqqi hai’. Because of this he and his team members were targeted by Hindutva fanatic group ABVP. In order to curb his team’s democratic voice inside the university, the union labour minister and RSS ideologue Bandaru Dattatreya wrote to MHRD minister Smirti Irani by stating that “UoH has become a den of casteist, extremist and anti-national politics”. UoH admin merely acted as a puppet in the hands of Hindutva group and suspended five of the ASA members including Rohith Vemula. What a coincidence! To ban APSC-IITM also, a nexus of local BJP elements in Tamilnadu, Hindutuva student group in IITM and MHRD ministry worked tirelessly through IITM administration! It is clearly evident that this has been repeated in Rohith Vemula’s case also. Initially APSC was castigated as anti-national element and rusticated further when it criticised and exposed the fascist Modi govt. and Brahminical tyranny of RSS! Much in the same way the APSC team members underwent psychological torture by the nexus of these authorities. The similar fascist nexus also involved in the shear harassment of Rohith Vemula and strangulated him to death. Therefore, one cannot simply consider this as suicide whereas Rohith Vemula’s death is an Orchestrated murder of Bramahnical fascist forces. Either in UoH or in APSC-IITM, or in FTII cases, it is evident that Brahminical fascism has its own agenda where its aim is to get hold of the academic institutes by strangulating dissenting voices and establish Brahminic hegemony! The democratic voice, we rarely enjoy in academic spaces is not a mercifull freebie granted by these Brahminic forces; rather we’ve got through prolonged, consistent and vigorous fight with them through centuries. It is a high time to find a graveyard to these fascist nexus otherwise no one can stop the murder of many such Rohith Vemulas who is an icon of our democratic voice!
Statement from Academics for Democracy [Chennai]
We the members of academics for democracy are devastated by the passing away of Rohith Vemula whose decision to take his own life is a direct consequence of the despicable act of Hyderabad university to socially boycott 5 Dalit Research scholars by succumbing to the uncalled intervention of MHRD because of political pressure by BJP.
Details of the whole affair as investigated by joint action committee for social justice, University of Hyderabad chapter make it clear that despite the initial investigation by the proctorial board which could not find any evidence of any wrong doing by the members of Ambedkar Student Association (5 scholars were members of ASA), UoH constituted a new inquiry by forming a so called sub-committee which violated it’s own constitution to prosecute the students. This was done under pressure after a letter from Smriti Irani to the vice chancellor asking for an explaination. The letter from the BJP MP from Secunderabad and Minister for Labour and Employment, Bandaru Dattatreya to Smriti Irani exhorting action from MHRD only smacks of uncalled and highly repressive political interference in university spaces. The whole affair is remarkably similar to the APSC affair at IIT Chennai.
There were several serious lapses in the whole inquiry:-
1) Charges about protesting against capital punishment of Yakub Menon (which is by no means an illegal act) were brought in.
2) Defendants were not given a chance to present their case
3) Witness testimonies were selectively used.
These lapses give a clear indication of discrimination against the members of Ambedkar Students association. The university further paid no attention to the strike staged by the suspended students and the Vice Chancellor of university had refused to even talk to the protesting students (inspite of Rohith asking the VC to give them poison instead of humiliating them like this just a week ago). Rohith’s brave yet devastating decision to take his own life is a direct result of the false prosecution of the 5 scholars by university administration. Hence we believe that the administration, MHRD and by extension BJP (who seem to be taking special interest in any student groups whose ideas do not support the ruling Hindutva ideology) are directly complicit in the death of Rohith. In strongest possible terms, we condemn this act of UoH and believe it has maligned itself as a public university. We would like to further express our anguish at the continued tradition of labeling any dissenting voice and opinions as anti national and using this to suppress these opinions and expressions of dissent through political channels
We also express solidarity with the ongoing struggle of Ambedkar Students Association and would like to express our condolence to family, friends and students struggling against discrimination in Hyderabad Central University.”
Alok Laddha, V. S. Sunder, R Mannivannan, Padma Venkataram, Nityanand Jayaram, Gita Jayaraj, Abdul Rahiman P K and Bernard Sami on Behalf of Academics for Democracy
Call for Strike and Class Boycott in Solidarity with the JAC-UoH
Pamphlet issued by students of CSSSC
A call has been issued by the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, University of Hyderabad (JAC-UoH) to conduct a nation-wide university boycott and strike against the gross violation of human rights and blatant discrimination practiced by the UoH and the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) that resulted yesterday (17/01/2016) in the death of the Dalit Research Scholar Rohith Vemula, only twenty-eight years of age. Rohith committed suicide last night, evidently frustrated by the orders of social boycott instituted by legal means replicating caste discrimination and untouchability passed against him and 4 other Dalit students by the administration. The suspension was to apparently penalise the students for a scuffle that ensued on the campus following a screening of a documentary on the Muzaffarnagar riots that ABVP members tried to disrupt. The 5 concerned students were singled out for the incident in a vindictive manner in spite of the clear lack of evidence till date to prove their role in it.
It is important to underline the series of incidents that are behind the death of this bright Dalit student with CSIR and UGC JRFs (qualified both and avails UGC JRF). Bandaru Dattatreya, Hyderabad MP and Union labour minister from BJP along with the ABVP intervened to paint these students as anti-national and extremist for the ‘crime’ of organizing a screening of the documentary and protesting recent hangings by the Indian state. Dattatreya (currently being investigated for his culpability in this death) in fact wrote a letter to the MHRD that prompted the suspension. The case here then is a clear act of Hindutva fascism functioning by corrupting the secular, democratic processes and institutions as well as targeting Dalit, minority and disadvantaged students in the process. The targeting this time was not only limited to structural discrimination but amounted to direct violence committed on such students. Rohith’s death in this context is nothing short of an ATROCITY and a MURDER.
In responding to the JAC’s call, we students of CSSSC are organizing a day-long programme to protest by all possible means the blatant acts of discrimination, violence and murder committed by the University of Hyderabad administration and the Ministry of Human Resource Development against students from Dalit, Bahujan and Minority communities. We will then conduct a peaceful strike of work and class-boycott tomorrow, the 19th of January 2016, as a symbol of our protest, resonating the JAC’s call to punish the perpetrators of this crime – that include Dattatreya and the UoH V.C. – in strictest terms according to the laws of the country. We thus call on all individuals and constituencies of the Centre to join us in our protest and strike and condemn the violence that is still being perpetuated by concerned agencies of the state. This is also part of a nation-wide programme already underway in institutions like JNU, TISS, EFLU, etc. to show solidarity as well as amplify the protest of the JAC-UoH.
PLEASE JOIN US!
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