Pune: Solidarity Protest against Institutional Murder of a Dalit Research Scholar

Rohith Vemula Solidarity Protest

The suicide of Rohith Vemula, Hyderabad Central University (HCU) student has triggered a massive outrage across the country. Rohith was among the five Dalit research scholars who were suspended last year from the university. These students were also kept out of the hostel, library etc. Union labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Hyderabad Central University vice chancellor have been named in the FIR accused of playing a major role in the suspension of these students. The body of Rohit, found hanging in the university’s hostel room in the campus, was sent for post mortem amid protests by students on Monday. The protests have spread from Hyderabad to Delhi. Students from Delhi protested in front of the education ministry.

Condemning the action of Bandaru Dattatreya and vice chancellor and in solidarity with the students of HCU, different organisations from Pune including New Socialist Alternative-Pune, Yuva Bharat, Samata Sainik Dal marked their protest at the ongoing 89th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan (ABMSS) (National Marathi Literature Fest).

Amidst intense sloganeering at the place, a team of five was called to discuss on the demands by Shripal Sabnis, this year president of ABMSS and Madhavi Vaidya, executive president of ABMSS. Comrade Youvraj of New Socialist Alternative – Pune put the point before the president and the executive president stating that if the literature does not promote to strengthen the progressive and democratic values of our country, then such events would prove out to be of no use to the society.

This has been going on in the country for more than a year now. Ambedkar- Periyar study circle was banned in Madras university, FTII students 139 day fought struggle was crushed by the Central government accusing the students of being ‘anti-nationals’ and much more, murders of rationalists Govind Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi, murder of Ashfaq and attacks on many others accusing them with false charges of carrying beef, protests and abusive words were used without any fear of law by the goons of the Sangh Parivar against the writers, directors who returned their awards and the ones who supported the act.

The president and the executive president assured the team that the proposal will be passed condemning the action of Bandaru Dattatreya and vice chancellor and what Rohith had to go through as a student (although this did not come out explicitly in their final statement). They both also invited the team to be present to see the proposal being passed.

But when the team came out to tell this news to other protesting people, all the protesters were detained by the police. FIRs were registered against all of them. All of them were given bail and released late night at around 11:30 pm.

Venkatesh Harale