Suspended UoH profs on hunger strike

Duo’s Suspension Triggered A Strong Backclash, With Support Pouring In From Across The Country

A day after they were suspended by the executive council of University of Hyderabad (UoH) for allegedly instigating protests against the return of vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile in March, senior dalit professor KY Ratnam and assistant professor Tathagata Sengupta went on a relay hunger strike on Tuesday.

The duo’s suspension triggered a severe backclash with support pouring in from across the country.

The SCST teachers’ forum and other professors on Tuesday faulted the irony of a situation wherein Podile had returned to campus in spite of se rious charges being levelled against him, while the Ratnam and Sengupta were facing the brunt of his decisions.

A statement issued by the forum said, “Section 17 of the SCST Atrocities Act clearly states that preventive action can be taken in case of an area prone to atrocities against those who have committed an offence under this Act. In violation of this section, Prof Appa Rao was allowed by state to return to the university.“

Members of the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice too expressed their anger over the executive council’s decision. In a press release issued on Tuesday, the JAC said, “Appa Rao Podile, after three months, is citing `a government rule’ to justify his decision of suspending the two teachers. It is ironic that a culprit booked under nonbailable charges goes scot free and exercises his power as vice-chancellor with complete impunity.“

Teachers and students on campus were in no mood to relent as they demanded immediate revocation of the professors’ suspension. Speaking about Tuesday’s developt ments, Munna Sanaki, memi ber of JAC, said, “The two professors will be on relay hunger strike till the university administration revokes its decision. We had sought police intervention. However, the police refused to intervene.“

Later in the evening, G Haragopal, an eminent educationalist, who was also a faculty member in the department of political science at the UoH, visited protesting profes sors on campus. He said, “The suspension by the executive council is totally unwarranted.

They were denied bail due to institutional glitches as the judge was on leave.The VC should have had an open dialogue with the professors before suspending them.This decision has only left the entire teaching fraternity in a vulner able state.“ He further said that the executive council must revoke its decision and apologise to the professors instead.

Meanwhile, backing the protesting professors, the Osmania University Joint Action Committee burnt an effigy of Podile at the OU Arts College while raising slogans against he VC. Protests were also held n Kolkata and New Delhi as well as other parts of country.

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