Following is the text of the memorandum that the CPI(M) General Secretary, Sitaram Yechury submitted to the President of India, when he met him on March 25.
Hon’ble President of India
I am writing this letter to you with a deep sense of anguish regarding the ongoing developments in the Hyderabad Central University.
The honourable President of India is the Visitor of this central university. There is an ongoing dispute with the newly appointed Vice Chancellor. The students, faculty and the entire university community has been agitating for redressing the circumstances which led to the tragic suicide of a bright research scholar, Rohith Vemula. After this suicide, the Vice Chancellor proceeded on long leave and he suddenly surfaced and took charge on March 22. His resumption of charge was accompanied by a brutal police action against the students and the university community about which I am sure you are aware.
The demand for the removal of this particular Vice Chancellor by the university community is being met with such a police action which has continued on March 23 as well. The water connection to the hostels, access to wifi, food supplies to the hostel mess – all have been discontinued. When the students themselves organised the cooking of food for the inmates they were once again attacked by the police and all those facilities destroyed.
The reason I am writing to you is because on the issue of removal of the Vice Chancellor, the HRD ministry has officially stated to the media the following:
“Regarding the demand for the removal of the VC the ministry has conveyed the same to the Visitor who is the appointing authority.”
Regarding the police action the ministry says that this is an
“issue of law and order (that) comes under the jurisdiction of the state government”.
This was conveyed to the entire media in the country by the HRD spokesperson Ghanshyam Goel (as reported in the Hindu web edition of March 24, 2016). Further, the news agency ANI has also put out on social media and the electronic media the same explanation.
The honourable President of India, who is the visitor of the University has now been dragged into the controversy by the HRD ministry. Given this, I am approaching you to intervene in this situation to restore normalcy in this premier central university in our country. As of now some students are still in hospital with serious injuries. Twenty six students have been detained and are in judicial custody along with two members of the faculty. Thus a total of twenty eight persons are in jail.
Further, we are informed that the first decision taken by the Vice Chancellor upon his return was to defer the meeting of the Academic Council on Thursday (March 24), which was convened by the in-charge Vice Chancellor to discuss the setting up of an anti-discrimination committee on the campus, to ensure adequate representation of SCs and STs on various committees of the university and to consider the proposal to increase the non-NET fellowship from Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 25,000 per month on parity with the Junior Research Fellowship in the country. The in-charge Vice Chancellor has reportedly pleaded that he had no knowledge of the Vice Chancellor returning to assume charge of the university.
Following the tragic suicide of Rohith Vemula there was a case registered against the Vice Chancellor for aiding and abetting this suicide. Instead of proceeding on this case this gruesome attack on the university community was mounted by the police.
Since the honourable President of India as the Visitor of the Hyderabad Central University has been dragged into this controversy by the HRD ministry, I am approaching you to please intervene and ensure that the HCU Vice Chancellor who took a blatantly anti-dalit stand violating all established norms of social inclusion in the university must be removed forthwith. The case registered against him with the police must be proceeded with and justice must be delivered to the university community and the country.
I would also urge upon you to please intervene to ensure that the Human Resources Development ministry is not allowed to be converted into the Hindu Rashtra Development ministry.
General Secretary, CPI(M)