In August 2015, a section of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) protested in Hyderabad Central University (HCU) against the screening of the movie ‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hain’. Controversies abound regarding the actual incident, but the media reported that physical violence took place, while the ABVP members denied any forceful threats.

After the incident, five students of the HCU were expelled from the hostel, and their access to public areas other than classrooms and labs was prohibited. Early January 2016, they were asked to leave the hostel premises as well, their rooms locked by hostel authorities. The stated reason was that they protested against the hanging of Yakub Memon, a convict in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case. On Sunday, January 17, one of the five students, Rohith Vemula, committed suicide by hanging himself on the university campus, leaving behind a self-explanatory letter.

“HCU’s new VC dismissed the 5 students after receiving a letter from the HRD Ministry, alleging that they were allegedly casteist, extremist, and anti-national. The allegations were encouraged by Bandaru Dattatreya, Minister of Labour and Employment,” a PhD student explained, when asked for details. “We have been informed that till now no university authority has offered condolences to Rohith’s family officially,” he said. Did it happen because Rohith was from a Dalit background, or was it an extreme level operation to control student politics?

The IIT Gandhinagar (IITGn) student community silently opposed such an approach to stop research scholars from voicing their opinion. On Tuesday, January 19, IITGn students held a candlelight condolence meet for Rohith, and offered a black band protesting against such situations. The slogan, ‘We are more than five’, with Rohith’s photo, symbolised IITGn’s peaceful support to the movement.

Rohith’s suicide note has created quite an uproar among the educated mass in the country. Although it suggests that nobody is responsible for the suicide, that fact that Rohith spent a lot of thought in writing the letter leaves a lot of question marks. The full note is available here:

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