Hyderabad: The administration of the University of Hyderabad on Wednesday barred media from entering the campus on the occasion of the second death anniversary of Rohith Vemula, a dalit research scholar who committed suicide on 17 January 2016, alleging caste discrimination.
Reporters had been invited by the student groups to cover the ‘Rohith Shahadath Din’. The decision to not allow them inside the varsity was intimated by afternoon. The university administration, while giving permission to student groups to conduct the event, informed them that journalists would have to remain outside the gate, and that a press conference could be held there.
Rohith’s mother Radhika Vemula, grandson of Dr. B. R Ambedkar, Prakash Ambedkar and author Kancha Illiah, addressed students at the event.
The university administration had tightened security and completely barred media entry after violence broke out in the campus in March 2016. Students protesting the return of vice chancellor Prof. Appa Rao Podile, who had gone on leave post Rohith’s suicide, were roughed up by the police.
More than 20 were arrested in connection with the incident.
Prof. Podile, along with Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from the Secunderabad constituency Bandaru Dattatreya, BJP MLC Prof. Ramchander Rao and Akhila Bhartiya Vidhya Parishad (ABVP) member N. Susheel Kumar were booked by the Gachibowli police under the SC/ST Atrocities Act for the suicide of Rohith Vemula. The case is currently under investigation.
Sreerag, president of the students union said that the ASA (Ambedkar Students Association) had given a representation for permission to allow the press and media in campus two days ago. “We were informed about it today itself. It is like a jail here. Even online food delivery is not allowed inside UoH anymore," he said.
Terming the barring of media “unconstitutional", Sreerag claimed that campus security had been heightened for the event, and visitors were not allowed inside. University officials declined to comment on the issue.