Chicago Academic Community Condemns Violent Police Brutality and Casteist Repression in HCU

Students community from the University of Chicago is in support with ongoing anti-caste students’ movement of the University of Hyderabad. Read the statement of solidarity here

 

We, the undersigned, condemn in the strongest terms the outrageous incidents of police brutality, wrongful arrest, and detention of unarmed students and faculty at the University of Hyderabad on March 22, 2016. We condemn Vice Chancellor Appa Rao’s decision to deprive nearly 5,000 student residents under his administration access to drinking water, food, electricity, internet, and bank funds for over 48 hours. We demand justice and accountability from the university administration for the death of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula. We stand in full solidarity with the ongoing anti-caste agitations on campus.

Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile has demonstrated a long and shameful record of casteist and authoritarian leadership. In 2001, he was involved with the rustication of ten Dalit students from the university. He is currently implicated in the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula and the suppression of critical police evidence. Appa Rao has been charged under the 1989 SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and is currently under judicial review by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. In the aftermath of the orchestrated attack on JNU, the return of Appa Rao to the Hyderabad University campus appears to be a meticulously planned occasion. The unconscionable use of Telangana State police and paramilitary forces against unarmed students on their own university campus and the withholding of vital services necessary for daily life on campus have demonstrated the moral bankruptcy of this administration and its fear of student mobilization. While our friends were languishing in jail for no crime other than seeking justice for Rohith and the creation of an egalitarian university, the Vice-Chancellor has continued to abuse his position of power. While Telangana police have violently beaten students and threatened them with rape and murder, the Vice-Chancellor continues to transform the university into his personal fiefdom. This shocking state of affairs goes against every value that we are taught to prize in our institutions of higher learning: a collective spirit of inquiry based on justice, equality, intellectual freedom, respect for peers, and basic integrity.

While the University of Hyderabad is no stranger to discrimination and anti-Dalit violence, this brazen display of power by Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and the overreach of punitive action on the campus is a drastic new low. Moreover, it is clear in the larger Indian political context that charges like ‘sedition’ and ‘vandalism’ are becoming common excuses for the exercise of arbitrary and overwhelming power to suppress critical and dissenting voices. The casteist, communal, and misogynist assault on students who demand equality and justice must end.

In solidarity with our friends at the University of Hyderabad, we demand:

1. The suspension of Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao until he is exonerated from his role in the murder of Rohith Vemula and his brutal suppression of peaceful student protests
2. The withdrawal of all police forces on campus
3. The withdrawal of all charges and cases against students and faculty associated with the protests
4. An inquiry and disciplinary measures against police personnel responsible for assaulting students and faculty taken into custody
5. The passage of the Rohith Act against caste-based discrimination at the university
Shefali Jha, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Sayantan Saha Roy, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Tejas Parasher, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Harini Kumar, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Suchismita Das, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Sanjukta Poddar, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Tanima, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Aditi Das, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Vidura Jang Bahadur, Student, MFA Visual Art, University of Chicago
Ahona Panda, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Ranu Roychoudhuri, Ph.D., University of Chicago
Adam Sargent, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Marc Kelley, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Sabrina Datoo, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Abhishek Bhattacharyya, Ph.D. student, University of Chicago
Hasan Siddiqui, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Sharvari Sastry, Ph.D. student, University of Chicago
Gautham Reddy, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Shiraz Hajiani, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Malavika Reddy, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Taylor Lowe, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Mannat Johal, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Thomas Newbold, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Joya John, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Jenisha Borah, Ph.D. student, University of Chicago
Nusrat S Chowdhury, Ph.D., University of Chicago (Asst. Prof. Amherst College)
Sneha Annavarapu, Ph.D. student, University of Chicago
Gaurav Devasthali, UChicago Alumni
Agnes Mondragon, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Steven Schwartz, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Sonia Grant, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Bilal Nasir, Northwestern University
Zachary Hebert, University of Chicago
Remi Jones, RA, Northwestern University
Angad Singh, Undergraduate, University of Chicago
Zoe High, MA student, University of Chicago Divinity School
Jahnabi Barooah, University of Chicago
Jesse Pruitt, MA Student, University of Chicago
Owen Kohl, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Sameena Azhar, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
Uday Jain, Ph.D., Student, University of Chicago
Alejandra Azuero, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Jonah Simpson, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Sean Batton, University of Chicago
Ali Abdelkader, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago
Mandeep Kumar, MLA Student @ Glaecher Center
Shreya Sood, Undergraduate, University of Chicago

 

Courtesy – https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1VUOH7JoIHsmEelNzW91cUxGRjTpGO6PUC6mwJ7Q4qZA/viewform

 

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