NEW DELHI: The report of the HRD ministry’s fact-finding team on the Rohith Vemula suicide has slammed the university administration for a flawed inquiry process that led to the expulsion of the five students associated with the Ambedkar Student Association. It also underlined the “academic demoralisation and social isolation” on campus.
ET has accessed the report which was under wraps. It had the following to say:
Gaps in the Inquiry Process
The report says that there are “…gaps in several processes, including the report of the senior medical officer of the University of Hyderabad, the Proctorial Board inquiry of events of 3rd/4th August, 2015”.
The medical report has been cited by the ABVP member who ran into a conflict with these ASA students to claim that he was manhandled by them.
It notes that even the sub committee of the Executive Council (EC) “which was tasked with having an in-depth and comprehensive view on the findings of the Proctorial Board has also not carried out the detailed exercise and has not examined the matter afresh as it was mandated” and instead it “merely reviewed the documents of the proceedings”.
The report also points out the University had first set up a five-member committee set up under Prof YA Sudhakar Reddy ((15.09.2015) ) after the proctorial board’s expulsion orders of five students were protested against. This committee, however, “pleaded its inability to look into the incident afresh”. Finally a sub committee of the EC was set up on 20.11.2015 which issued final expulsion orders.
No Pressure from HRD
The report quotes the embattled Vice-Chancellor Prof Appa Rao Podile, now forced to go on leave following student protests as saying he felt no pressure from the HRD ministry. “In the oral discussions with the Vice Chancellor, Registrar, Prof Parkash Babu, Dean Students’ Welfare, it has emerged that the UoH had not taken serious cognizance of the letters from MHRD and did not feel any pressure to act because of their reminder letters”, says the report.
The University that Did Not Talk to its Students
The University administration failed to communicate and reach out to protesting students further escalating tensions on the campus. The report notes that “the University officers were not in constant dialogue with the protesting students which escalated the crisis”. Further, it says that “…though channels of communication through Deans, senior faculty and DSW were being used, these were inadequate and this was further comple ..
Discrimination on Campus The report bears out the “trust deficit and a feeling of academic discrimination among some of the students.” It also notes that the grievance redressal mechanism on campus was “non-functional/defunct and is responsible for enhancing the feeling of deprivation and discrimination among the students from the socially and economically weaker sections”.
What the University Slept On The report says that critical issues like the sense of discrimination were left unchecked or unresolved for the last several years despite the fault lines becoming very obvious.” It cites a letter from a MP in November 2014 that called for correction. It also notes that while University had set up thy Prof Vinod Pavarala Committee (2008), Krishna Committee and the Justice Ramaswamy Committee (2014) which have earlier examined unfortunate tragic death ..
Rohith Vemula – The Scholar and the Scholarship A PhD scholar with the Centre for Knowledge, Culture and Innovation Studies who had been awarded the CSIR-JRF Fellowship in 2014, Rohith Vemula was found “academically bright” by his PhD Supervisor Dr Raghav Reddy. Vemula “topped in the PhD interview”, he had faced incidentally in the same month — August 2015 — when he was first suspended by the Proctorial Board. Rohith had also got his CSIRJRF fellowship two times — an issue that the University was examining still. As a result, he had not been given JRF fellowship amount since July 2015.economically weaker sections”. (economictimes)