Tag Archives: University of Hyderabad

Open Letter from SC/ST Faculty Forum of University of Hyderabad to VC Appa Rao About Resignation from Administrative Positions: SC/ST Faculty Forum, UoH

Guest Post by SC/ST Faculty Forum, University of Hyderabad

[ We have recently received a request from The SC/ST Faculty Forum of the University of Hyderabad to publish a correspondence between them and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad, Prof. Podile Appa Rao regarding the collective decision of the SC/ST Faculty Forum members to resign from administrative positions in the university. Accordingly, we are publishing below an open letter from the SC/ST Faculty Forum to the Vice Chancellor which is a response to a letter from the VC to the Convener of the SC/ST Faculty Forum, Dr. Sudhakar Babu. This letter is, in turn, a response to the original communication from the SC/ST Faculty Forum containing the collective decision to resign from administrative posts. These letters are being published in solidarity with the SC/ST Facutly Forum and in furtherance of the spirit of transparency, and public awareness, that they seek to uphold vis-a-vis all communication with the current vice chancellor.- Kafila]

Dear Prof.Appa Rao,

Thank you for your mail. We reiterate our collective decision to resign from administrative positions  for the following reasons:

The Forum represents the collective will of the community. Its decision is not reducible to individual members of the community. By asking the forum members to individually give reasons for their resignations, you are downplaying the community’s experience of continuing caste atrocity on the campus. In fact, this mail of yours may be construed as a threat against  individual members of the community and suggestive of demoralising the SC/ST members in a way that infringes upon and restrains their right to complain against you.

The Forum traces its history as a response to the rustication of ten Dalit students on the campus in 2001. Incidentally, you were one of the main perpetrators of caste atrocities on the students at that time. Today, you are not only responsible for the suicide of Rohit Vemula on January 17th but also the police brutalities and arrest of faculties including a Dalit faculty on trumped up charges following the March 22nd unforgivable and unforgettable event.  An atmosphere of caste violence prevails on the campus —of fear, intimidation, social boycott  and the SC/ST community feels extremely insecure by your presence.

We vehemently condemn the expeditious and inappropriate manner in which you have accepted the resignation of the Controller of Examinations and the mischievous way through which you are persuading the other members of the community to hold on to their resignations. This diabolic and unbecoming style of your leadership is at once appalling and extremely damaging to the interests of the SC/ST community on the campus.

Under the circumstances, we demand that you desist from holding individual Dalit faculty responsible for the collective decision of the Forum and thereby attempting to isolate and intimidate them.

Dr.Sudhakar Babu,

Convener, SC/ST Faculty Forum

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO A LETTER FROM THE VC To Dr. Sudhakar Babu, which is reproduced below.

Dear Dr. Sudhakar Babu,T

he Vice Chancellor office received your email conveying the decision of the SC/ST Teachers Forum that its members are not willing to work in administrative posts in the University.  Since you have conveyed this message on behalf of our colleagues, I would like to request you to convey to all those who have expressed such concern to continue in their respective office.  VC office would like to continue with their services in respective positions.

If any of our faculty colleagues from SC/ST Teachers Forum are unwilling to consider my request for their continuation in administrative office, please advise individual faculty members to tender resignation giving reason(s) which will be considered by the University accordingly.   It may not be appropriate for the administration to act on the request from the convener of a forum about continuation of individual members of the forum in an administrative job.

You may recall that we have all worked together for a long time.  I would like to continue with the same relationship with everybody in the University.

With best wishes,

Prof. Appa Rao Podile FASc, FNASc, FNAAS,

Vice Chancellor

Tata Innovation Fellow (DBT)

University of Hyderabad

Hyderabad – 500 046, Telangana, India

International Statement of Solidarity by Academics, Activists, Artists and Writers with University of Hyderabad

Over 300 academicians, activists, artists and writers condemn the state violence and unlawful detention of faculty and student protesters of the University of Hyderabad.

If you would like to endorse this statement please send your name and institutional affiliation (if any) to justiceforhcu@gmail.com 

We, academicians, activists,  artists and writers, condemn the ongoing brutal attacks on and unlawful detention of peacefully protesting faculty and students at the University of Hyderabad by the University administration and the police. We also condemn the restriction of access to basic necessities such as water and food on campus.

The students and faculty members of the University of Hyderabad were protesting the reinstatement of Dr. Appa Rao Podile as the Vice-Chancellor despite the ongoing judicial enquiry against him related to  the circumstances leading to the death of the dalit student Rohith Vemula on January 17th, 2016. Students and faculty members of the university community are concerned that this may provide him the opportunity to tamper with evidence and to influence witnesses. Suicides by dalit students have been recurring in the University of Hyderabad and other campuses across the country.  The issue spiraled into a nationwide students’ protest with the death of the dalit scholar Rohith Vemula. The protests have pushed into the foreground public discussion and debate on the persistence of caste-based discrimination in  educational institutions, and surveillance and suppression of dissent and intellectual debate in university spaces.

Since the morning of March 22 when Dr. Appa Rao returned to campus, the students and staff have been in a siege-like situation.  The peacefully protesting staff and students were brutally lathi-charged by the police, and 27 people were taken into custody. The 27 detainees were untraceable for 48 hours, brutally tortured, and denied legal access. In short, all legal procedures of detention have been suspended. After the incident, the university has been locked down with no access to food, water, electricity, and Internet connectivity.   Students were brutally assaulted when they opened community kitchens.  Lawyers and members of human rights organization as well the ordinary citizens of the city were denied access to students. University of Hyderabad is one of India’s biggest public universities.

We have followed, with deep concern, similar violent attacks and undemocratic crackdown on students on the campuses of Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Film and Television Institute of India, the University of Allahabad, Jadavpur University, Burdwan University, and others across the country. That the highest administrative authorities in the university have allowed the silencing of debate and dissent is unfortunate. We are disturbed by the pattern of growing nexus between student vigilante groups, youth wing of the ruling party, state and university authorities in colleges and university campuses across the country in order to mobilize the state machinery against vulnerable students. This has created a climate of fear and oppression in the country, and continually violates fundamental human and Constitutional rights of students.

We stand in support of the protesting students, staff and faculty of the University of Hyderabad and demand the following:

  1. Immediate withdrawal of police from the campus.

  2. Immediate release of, and withdrawal of all cases against, all arrested students and faculty.

  3. Suspension of the Vice-Chancellor P. Appa Rao.

  4. Judicial enquiry into the role of the HRD Ministry, the HRD Minister and Mr. Bandaru Dattatreya in inciting violence against Dalits on campus.

  5. Independent enquiry into the incidents of violence on the campus including the role of the ABVP in vandalising the Vice-Chancellor’s office.

  6. Action against police personnel named by students in their complaints.

  7. Passage of the “Rohith Act” against caste discrimination in education.


  1. Lawrence Cohen, Director, Institute for South Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley Continue reading International Statement of Solidarity by Academics, Activists, Artists and Writers with University of Hyderabad

Statement from SC/ST Faculty Forum and Concerned Teachers, Univ of Hyderabad

 The following is a Press Release from the SC/ST Faculty Forum and Concerned Teachers on the state of affairs in the University, especially since the peculiar, staged incidents, surrounding the return of the former Vice Chancellor

We express our extreme displeasure at Prof. Appa Rao resuming office without information given even to the incharge Vice-Chancellor. Prof. Appa Rao has returned to the office when he has not yet been exonerated either by the court or by the Judicial Enquiry instituted by the MHRD based on the two member committee report which took into cognizance the very serious concerns raised by the students and the teaching fraternity.

The time period of the judicial probe is not completed and the commission has until April 30th 2016 to submit its report. In order for a fair probe to be carried on, it was not expected that Prof. Appa Rao returns to the office till he was cleared of charges. We are shocked at the manner in which Prof. Appa Rao rejoined the office. From the documents available, it can be noted that a sequence of actions to be carried out by specific individuals that include some specific sections of students, teachers and non-teaching staff and also police personnel was prepared to be implemented. For example:

  1. “Receiving” Prof. Appa Rao near Gachibowli Stadium at 8am on 22nd March 2016.
  2. “Greeting” of Prof. Appa Rao by the Life Sciences Students at the VC’s lodge upon his arrival.
  3. “Request the support” of police

Continue reading Statement from SC/ST Faculty Forum and Concerned Teachers, Univ of Hyderabad

Offer truth and hope, not drama: Faculty of University of Hyderabad to Smriti Irani

Dear Ms Irani,

Thanks to your stunning performance, we, many faculty members from the University of Hyderabad, are compelled to do what we should have done in the last one month or so, but could not bring ourselves to – write, write about Rohith, write about our other students, write about the state of academics, write about ourselves and write about society at large.

Our first acknowledgement to this therefore goes to you for revealing yourself and for bringing us back from grief, from reflection, from teaching and from various other mundane things we do as part of our job.

As we watched you in disbelief on our TV screens on 24th February 2016, you, in a voice choked with emotion, again and again referred to the “child” whose death has been used as a political weapon. We were left bewildered.

At what precise point, Madam Minister, did this sinister, anti-national, casteist, Dalit student of the University of Hyderabad transform into a child for you? Definitely not in those five rejoinders from MHRD (the ministry of human resource development) between 03-09-2015 and 19-11- 2015 with the subject line “anti-national activities in Hyderabad Central University Campus”? Definitely not when you chose to overlook and endorse what can only be read as extraordinarily aggressive and unfounded allegations by a minister in your own government, Mr Bandaru Dattatreya?

Read the rest of the letter in The Telegraph

National development, order and disorder – The tactical algorithm of the BJP today: R Srivatsan

Guest Post by R. SRIVATSAN

“Khamosh! Kutte!”  [Silence! Dog!]

(Unconfirmed rumors about the phone answer given by the most powerful man to Ehsan Jafri, when the latter called up the Gujarat administration for protection from the mobs during the Baroda riots in 2002.  Jafri was slaughtered and hacked limb from limb soon after the protection he sought was withdrawn, or rather never provided.)

algorithm:  noun, a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.

While effort after effort was made to establish the culpability of Narendra Modi for the Gujarat riots, they all failed to produce any evidence that was acceptable in a court of law.   News records speculate that the administration, on direct orders, turned a blind eye to the rampage of the mobs.[1]

Much was made of his innocence, and after more than a decade of political exile, Modi has risen as the star of the BJP’s ruling formation since the last election.

India’s national development now is touted as set to occur at a blistering pace crossing 7% in the coming years.  This is the redoubtable Gujarat model where industrial development is paralleled by stagnant or retrogressive movement of all indicators of social development and well being.

Key to understanding the significance of this is the unpacking of the term ‘national development’ in the Modi mantra (the name being convenient shorthand for the BJP and the rising class which supports it).

What does ‘national development’ signify for the BJP and its supporters?  How should this ‘belief’ in the nation be read?

To understand this, it is important to look at the spate of responses of the right wing to recent events. Continue reading National development, order and disorder – The tactical algorithm of the BJP today: R Srivatsan

Condemning Caste Discrimination in Higher Education Centres that led to Rohith’s Untimely Death – Students of Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University

Guest Post by Students of Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University


( A protest meeting on Rohith Vemula was organised in Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University on 28 th January. Find pasted below a brief report of the meeting followed by the statement which was read and passed in the meeting.)

We, the students of Delhi School of Economics organised a protest meeting in solidarity with the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, University of Hyderabad. It was joined in by students from other departments of the university as well.

The discussion revolved around the presence of caste based discrimination within university campuses and the deadly silence on the matter. It was recognised that Rohith’s investment in progressive politics was crucial in him and others in Ambedkar Students Association being victimised. And the present gathering affirmed its investment in that politics and striving for the kind of change Rohith also aspired for. Continue reading Condemning Caste Discrimination in Higher Education Centres that led to Rohith’s Untimely Death – Students of Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University

Long Live the Legacy of Comrade Vemula Rohith Chakravarthy : Statement by New Socialist Initiative (NSI)

Guest Post : Statement by New Socialist Initiative( NSI)
Comrade Rohith, we pay our deepest respects to you. We share your concerns. With you and like you we think that Systemic revolutions and great social transformations should go hand in hand. Rohith we fully agree with you that unless the oppressed are armed with scientific knowledge and rationality, revolution and emancipation remain elusive.
New Socialist Initiative pays its respects to Comrade Rohith Vemula, PhD scholar and student leader of University of Hyderabad. Rohith is not just a name of a scholar today. It has become a battle cry against the saffronisation of Indian education system. Rohith is the name of the relentless struggle against the upper caste domination in the institutions of higher education. Rohith has become a symbol of revolt against the decadence of our civilisation. Yes, Rohith committed suicide, killed himself, but not in desperation, not in fruitless vengeance. As his last words amply show, he seemed to be making a political and philosophical statement on the order of the things in this country, on the despicable manuvadi practices raising their ugly heads in the university campuses, on fascist targeting of Muslim minority community, on the rising intolerance and irrationality in our society.

Continue reading Long Live the Legacy of Comrade Vemula Rohith Chakravarthy : Statement by New Socialist Initiative (NSI)

“Nobody killed Rohith Vemula”: Kishalaya Mukhopadhyay

This is a guest post by KISHALAYA MUKHOPADHYAY

“Nobody killed Rohith Vemula”. Perhaps someday there will be a film like this. Perhaps someday people will start talking about the exploitation of dalits, the need for annihilation of caste, the systematic discrimination in all spheres of society including the government, corporate, bureaucratic and educational sectors. Perhaps caste as an analytical category will become as politically charged as gender has become post-Nirbhaya. Today there is a discourse around marital rape, victim blaming, domestic violence and other aspects of patriarchy that has transcended even if slightly only the small coterie of feminist scholars within whom this discourse used to be limited to. Continue reading “Nobody killed Rohith Vemula”: Kishalaya Mukhopadhyay