New Delhi: JNU students on Saturday held a protest outside Telangana Bhawan in New Delhi, demanding the release of 25 students and two faculty members of Hyderabad Central University (HCU) who were arrested for allegedly vandalizing the official residence of the university’s vice-chancellor.

The protest was led by Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA) and joined by representatives of JNU student bodies related to All India Students Federation (AISF), All India Students’ Association (AISA) and Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF), among others. Students and teachers from Delhi University (DU) also participated in the protest.

“The government systematically planned this whole thing to arrest students and divert the public attention from Rohith Vemula’s case," DU professor Keshav Kumar said.

Rahul, a BAPSA member, questioned Telangana chief minister K.C. Rao’s “silence" on the Vemula case. “We want to tell the state government that they are oppressing those Dalits on whose sacrifice their government came to power. We want them to take accountability for the incident and release the students," he said.

DU professor Sukumar condemned the police action on the students terming it as “unprecedented". The protesters also demanded the enactment of a “Rohith Act" to end caste-based discrimination in educational institutions and the release of HCU professors Tathagata Sengupta and Konda Yesu Ratnam, among others.

Another DU professor echoed the same sentiments, stating “Brahiminical forces are frustrated" since students from vulnerable communities are questioning the system and its atrocities. “It is a warning sign for these forces to make them realize that their dominance is not active anymore, their hegemony has been challenged. People now have understood Ambedkar philosophy, they are participating in the movement," professor Rajkumar said.

Twenty-five students and two faculty members of HCU were arrested in connection with incidents of vandalism at the vice-chancellor’s lodge and stone pelting on police personnel on 22 March.

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