Suspended UoH faculty members launch indefinite hunger strike

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The two suspended faculty members of University of Hyderabad (UoH) on Tuesday launched an indefinite hunger strike protesting against their suspension by the varsity on the ground that they had been detained by police for more than 48 hours in March this year.

The two faculty members sat on the fast outside the university.

The SC/ST Teachers Forum, meanwhile alleged that the universitys action against the two faculty members was taken “in a fit of vindictiveness” and sought revocation of their suspension.

The faculty members– K Y Ratnam, Head, Centre for Ambedkar Studies and faculty member of Department of Political Science and Tathagata Sengupta, faculty member of Department of Mathematics– were yesterday served with suspension notice for allegedly not informing the University about their detention by police on March 22.

The Executive Council of the UoH had taken the decision to suspend them in its meeting held last Monday and the suspension orders were issued on Monday.

“Ratnam and Sengupta have commenced an indefinite relay hunger strike in protest against their unjust and casteist suspension,” the Forum said in a release.

Ratnam and Sengupta were detained when police dragged away protesters who besieged the official residence of vice-chancellor Appa Rao on March 22, protesting against the latter resuming his office after a long leave.

“In a fit of vindictiveness, UoH issued suspension notices yesterday, several months after they were already targeted for arrest simply for the noble act of requesting the police to desist from beating and brutalising the students during the lathi charge on March 22,” it said.

It is also extremely opportunistic for the University to pass these orders, after using their services for the entire duration of the semester until May, retroactively deeming them suspended starting March 22 onward until further orders, the release said alleging this act amounts to a continuation of caste atrocities against Dalits.

The University of Hyderabad, popularly known as HCU, has witnessed sporadic protests over the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohit Vemula, with protesting students demanding removal of Appa Rao from the VCs post.

Appa Rao has been booked under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and for abetment of Vemulas suicide. The university has been on the boil since Vemula committed suicide on the campus on January 17, subsequent to which VC Podile went on a leave amid protest by students.

“We demand that the suspension be revoked and that Prof Appa Rao be immediately suspended from duty and prevented from committing any further atrocity against Dalits on campus,” the Forum said in the release.

 

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