Academics, Scholars and Concerned Citizens


The following is a compilation of responses by Academics, Scholars and Concerned Citizens to the suicide of the PhD student of University of Hyderabad in January 2016.


January 21, 2016


Statement by concerned scholars following Rohith Vemula’s death


The suicide of Rohith Vemula is now the subject of a ridiculous inquiry to be conducted by a Committee set up by Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani. The real reason and the politics behind it are clear to those who are willing to open their eyes. As academics, we are concerned that such a situation should prevail in Universities, and wish to register our protest.


Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai was to be screened at the University of Hyderabad. The action was planned by the Ambedkar Students’ Association. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, student goons of the RSS, used force to try and halt this. Dalit students were subjected to verbal abuse as well as physical force. As a result of agitations the ABVP had to apologise in writing. This was what caused such tremendous heartburn to the Hindutva forces. While the screening of Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai has taken place in various parts of the country, and has also given rise to conflicts in various parts of the country, it is in UoH alone that the consequences turned so aggressive with full participation of the top echelons of the University. The new Vice Chancellor, Appa Rao Podile, had five PhD students suspended. They were subjected to social ostracism as well. Thrown out of hostel, debarred from entering library, administrative spaces, they were hounded in a way that no administration has hounded any upper caste student in our memory. It is also reported that an MHRD letter designated them anti-national for opposing the hanging of Yakub Memon. The MHRD, today proclaiming autonomy of Universities, was goading UoH through several letters to take action against the ASA. Rohith had even written a letter to the Vice Chancellor a couple of weeks ago, where he suggested the University provide means of committing suicide to Dalit students. Even after this the authorities did nothing. And after the suicide, the police acted in a brutal and shameless manner, grabbing the body of Rohith and disposing of it in secrecy instead of handing it over to his relatives.


As a result, we need to conclude the following:


That while other conflicts, such as over communalism, over a host of issues, do remain important, when they are fought with Dalits at one end, the attitude of government and authorities becomes far more aggressive.


That there is a generalised hostility to Dalits, and a great insensitivity to the burdens they carry, which is why the Hindutva offensive against the ASA could proceed so far with so little protest from across the country.


This should once again force us to open our eyes, as incidents repeatedly, whether the suicide of Chuni Kotal in 1992, or the death of Balmukund Bharti, again by suicide, or so many other cases should have, that while formally the Constitution of India declares the end of casteism, in reality Brahmanism is rampant, and Dalits today have to fight the same battle as Shambuk or Ekalavya. If we are really sincere in desiring democracy and substantive equality, we must stand up and be counted in the struggle against casteism.


We demand:







Sumit Sarkar

Tanika Sarkar

Achin Vanaik

Kunal Chattopadhyay, Jadavpur University

Soma Marik, RKSM Vivekananda Vidyabhavan, West Bengal State University

Abhijit Kundu, Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University

Maroona Murmu, Jadavpur University

Kalyan Das, Presidency University

Anuradha Roy, Jadavpur University

Samantak Das, Jadavpur University

Abhijit Gupta, Jadavpur University

Sudeshna Banerjee, Jadavpur University,

Suchetana Chattopadhyay, Jadavpur University

Samir Karmakar, Jadavpur University

Nilanjana Gupta, Jadavpur University

Sanjoy Kumar Saha, Jadavpur University

Nupur Dasgupta, Jadavpur University

Sujata Tarafdar, Jadavpur University,

Nandini Saha, Jadavpur University

Mahitosh Mandal, Presidency University

Debajit Dutta, Jadavpur University

Ritajyoti Bandyopadhyay, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta

Sujit Kumar Mandal, Jadavpur University

Keshab Bhattacharya, Jadavpur University

Rochana Das, Jadavpur University

Gautam Gupta, Jadavpur University

Mahidas Bhattacharya, Jadavpur University

Abhijit Roy, Jadavpur University

Partha Pratim Ray, Jadavpur University

Epsita Halder, Jadavpur University

Proyash Sarkar, Jadavpur University

Atreyi Dasgupta, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Hematology and Oncology, Baylor College of Medicine, USA

Chandak Sengoopta, Birbeck College, University of London

Tithi Bhattacharya, University of Purdue

Bill Mullen, University of Purdue

Abha Dev Habib, Miranda House, Delhi University

Neshat Qaiser, Jamia Milia Islamia University

Rina Ramdev, Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University

Surajit Mukhopadhyay, WBNUJS

Gaurang Sahay, TISS, Mumbai

Padma Velaskar, TISS, Mumbai

Monami Basu, Delhi University

Mrityunjay Yadavendu, Delhi University

Naveen Gaur, Dyal Singh College, Delhi University

Nandita Narain, St. Stephens College, Delhi University.

Pradip Basu, Presidency University

Saikat Sinha Roy, Jadavpur University

Anindya Sengupta, Jadavpur University

Partha Sarathi Bhaumik, Jadavpur University

Rimi B. Chatterjee, Jadavpur University

Shashi Sekhar Singh, Satyavati College, Delhi University

Mihir Pandey, Ramjas College, Delhi University

Radrashish Chakraborty, KMC, Delhi University

Roopa Dhawan, Ramjas College, Delhi University

Chitra Joshi, IP College, Delhi University

Debaditya Bhattacharya, Nivedita College, University of Calcutta

Indrani Talukdar, BITS Pilani, Goa

Vinita Chandra, Ramjas College, Delhi University

Nandini Chandra, Delhi University

Mithuraaj Dhusiya, Delhi University

Sibaji Bandyopadhyay, formerly in CSSSC

Samarpita Mitra, Jadavpur University

Tilottama Mukherjee, Jadavpur University

Arabinda Samanta, Burdwan University

Niladri R. Chatterjee, Kalyani University

Priyanka Bhattacharya, Doon School

Sreejith Kalandy, Mangalkote Government General Degree College

Pranav Jani, Ohio State University, USA

Paramita Bhattacharjee Chakraborti, Jadavpur University

Partha Pratim Basu, Jadavpur University

Rina Ghosh, Jadavpur University

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