United Dalit Students’ Forum (UDSF)
Jawaharlal Nehru University
UDSF strongly condemns the caste-based harassment and torture by the University of Hyderabad (UoH) faculty and administration which led to the death of a Dalit student in the university. This is the third killing of a Dalit student by the administration and faculty in the university.
M. Venkatesh, a 3rd year PhD Scholar from Advance Centre for Research in High Energy Materials (ACRHEM), University of Hyderabad, committed suicide in his hostel room. He was a CSIR-JRF Fellow. He joined UoH for PhD in 2011 at ACRHEM. With his own efforts he published two international papers. But even after three years, he was not provided a supervisor and a lab to do his research work.
ACRHEM director, the faculty members and the management of HCU grossly neglected to provide the basic academic logistic support to a brilliant research scholar from a marginalized section, thus exposing the caste arrogance of the UoH administration. Though the deceased made continuous efforts to request the administration to provide him with a regular guide, they responded with a very indifferent attitude throughout the last 3 years. This very indifferent and casteist attitude by the administration and faculty had compelled him to commit suicide.
These incidents reveal that it is due to the castiest prejudice of HCU administration and faculty members that many SC/ST students have been compelled to commit suicide. Two other Dalit students had committed suicide in similar circumstances: Pulyala Raju, from Andhra Pradesh, an MA Applied Linguistics student in April 2013, and Senthil Kumar, from Tamil Nadu, a Dalit PhD research scholar in Physics in April 2008.
Students have come together under the banner “Raju-Venkatesh Solidarity Committee” to stop such kinds of incidents in the future. In this regard, the Committee has started a hunger strike as a means to convey the demands of the student community in general and of the students from marginalized communities in particular.
But the students who were on hunger strike since last three days have been arrested by the Andhra police under the directions of the UoH administration to suppress the democratic agitation of the Dalit students who have been demanding basic human rights for the Dalits along with the punishment of the culprits. However, the repression by the Andhra police and the UoH administration couldn’t stop the ongoing agitation of the Dalit stuents and in reaction to that many more students came forward to lead the agitation further, continuing the hunger strike.
The UoH Students’ Union President, a member of SFI- UoH unit, has not expressed her concerns so far, and the SFI is working hand in hand with the administration. This clearly shows that the Students’ Federation of India is becoming Sanghi/ Sadhu Ferderation of India. It is visible that in the next campus elections SFI and ABVP are coming together.
It is a shame in India that caste Hindu intellectuals who keep on talking about modernity and democracy do not forget to uphold the legacy of Manu, Chanakya and Dronacharya even in the 21st century, practicing feudal, barbaric, inhuman caste atrocities.
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