Day 2 of Hunger Strike in UoH: Varavara Rao, Others Join in Protest

PRESS STATEMENT BY SC/ST TEACHERS’ FORUM AND CONCERNED TEACHERS. UNIVERSITY OF HYDERABAD DATED 15TH JUNE. 2016

On the second day of indefinite relay hunger strike by Dr. K.Y. Ratnam and Dr. Tathagata Sengupta protesting their arbitrary suspension, they were joined by Mr. S. Bavajan and Mr. Siraj, research scholars from Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) who are active in the All India Students’ Association (AISA), and Mr. Bandaru Laxmaiah from the Struggle and Solidarity Committee for Justice for Rohith Vemula.Dr. Sudhakar Babu, Convenor of the SC/ST Faculty Forum and Prof. Sudhakar Rao inaugurated the proceedings by garlanding the hunger strikers.

The day began with an enlightening lecture by Dr. K. Y. Ratnam on “Caste and the Political Economy of Karamchedu”. He drew links between the highly caste specific nature of the implementation of the Green Revolution and the mobilisation of caste groups into the different political formations in Andhra Pradesh, explaining the political economic framework and contradictions that lay behind the mass caste atrocity of Karamchedu and its institutional cover-up.

Satish who had triumphed over an institutional rustication in English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) challenged Appa Rao to stop hiding behind the police and understand the extent to which he lacks public support. Koonal who had resisted being violently dragged while speaking on Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on Ambedkar Jayanti on 14.06.2016 in EFLU spoke on his experiences and spoke of a strong solidarity between all student teacher struggles. Badri and Arunank from Democratic Students Union (DSU) of Osmania University declared that neither Appa Rao Podile nor Vipin Srivastava, each complicit in the institutional murderers of dalit students Rohith and Senthil respectively, have no moral right to suspend these two professors. They demanded the immediate arrest of Prof. Appa Rao. Venkat, member of the State Secretariat of Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), Soodi Malla Venkataswamy from Telangana Communist Party, Bharat Bhushan, retired employee from IRCTC (Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation), B. Narasimha Secretary General, All-India SC/ST Welfare Association, Harish from Telangana Vidyarthi Sangathan (TVS) of Osmania University
and Punnaiah, a Dalit movement leader, all expressed their solidarity.

Varavara Rao from Revolutionary Writers Association (RWA) addressed the gathering and drew a map of the history of resistance by students and staff in University spaces, and the subsequent violent repression by the State. Kasim from RWA questioned why a Vice-Chancellor of the University can continue in this position of authority when he is accused under the SC/ST atrocity Act, and speculated that the original imprisonment of Dr. Ratnam and Tathagata beyond a 48 hour period for the “crime” of preventing police brutality upon students was itself a conspiracy to ensure that they could later be suspended. Devendra from Chaitanya Mahila Sangam, Nalamasa Krishna from Telangana Praja Front, Jayaraj from Kula Nirmoolana Poratta Samiti, Prof. Ratnakar from MANUU, Khalida Parveen from Jamaat e Islami e Hind all came and expressed their solidarity. From the University, Mr. Sebastian from the Non-Teaching Staff, Prof. Krishna, Department of Hindi, Prof. Ramudu and Dr. Rani Ratna Prabha (CSSEIP), Prof. Sudhakar Rao, Department of Anthropology, Prof. G. Vijay, Prof. Laxminarayana, Department of Economics, Dr. Verghese, Department of History, Dr. Bittu and Dr. Joby Joseph (CNCS), and Prof. Nancharaiah (former Vice-Chancellor) from HCU all spoke extensively on this struggle for the annihilation of caste. The wealth of support strengthened the hunger strikers and their struggle for justice continues!!

#RevokeSuspension
#ApplySection17ofSCSTPoAact
#ArrestAppaRaoPodile
#JusticeforRohith