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University of Minnesota Stands in Solidarity with the University of Hyderabad

We, the undersigned at the University of Minnesota, strongly condemn the current onslaught on protesting students and faculty at the University of Hyderabad. Following the tragic death of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula earlier this year, the UoH community has been questioning the role of the university administration in the circumstances leading to his suicide. Days before he took his life, five Dalit scholars including Vemula were expelled by the university administration. At the behest of the ruling government, they were punished for screening a film which documents the frightening spread of Hindu fundamentalism in India today. In the wake of their expulsion and then Vemula’s suicide, the UoH community spearheaded a nation-wide movement which draws attention to the horrific normalization of caste discrimination and the growing criminalization of dissent in universities in India. Instead of responding to the concerns raised by the movement, the university administration recently reinstated P Appa Rao to the office of the Vice Chancellor. As P Appa Rao has been charged for abetting Vemula’s suicide, this amounts to an utter mockery of the movement and also threatens the integrity of the on-going judicial enquiry about his death. This has rightfully angered the UoH community which registered its protest by peacefully occupying the office of the Vice Chancellor on 22 March 2016.

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