The University of Hyderabad has rusticated a doctoral student for one year for abusing a Dalit professor on social media.
The university on Thursday issued orders rusticating Kaluram Palsania, a doctoral student in the department of history, who is also the leader of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a right-wing students group affiliated to the RSS.
“The Proctorial Board of the University found the student guilty of posting a public message on social media abusing and questioning the credentials of Prof. K. Laxminarayana of the Department of Economics,” said a statement from the central university.
The Board also imposed a fine of Rs 30,000 on the student. The seven-member Board includes a retired judge and a senior police officer, apart from faculty members of the University.
“The University of Hyderabad would like to reiterate that we have zero tolerance for physical or verbal abuse of any member of the University community in the course of discharging their duties,” it added.
Palsania had used derogatory words against the professor for setting a semester paper with a question on “saffronisation of education”.
Palsania in his post in November last year alleged that Laxminarayana “has become a professor only because of his blackmailing tricks”.
However, the post surfaced last month, triggering tension on the campus.
Lakshminarayana had complained to Vice Chancellor P. Appa Rao and Pro-Vice Chancellor Vinod Pavarala. Ambedkar Student’s Association (ASA) and other Dalit groups had also sought immediate action against Palsania.
The issue had led to tension on the eve of the second death anniversary of 26-year-old Dalit student Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide on campus after alleging that he was being persecuted by university officials on account of his caste.
Dalit groups alleged that the professor was targeted by ABVP for being associated with the movement to demand justice for Rohith Vemula.
In August 2015, Vemula was suspended along with four other Dalit students for being “casteist, extremist and anti-national” following a complaint by the ABVP. The fellowship payment of Vemula, who was also a member of ASA, was stopped and the suspended students were evicted from the hostel. During the sit-in protest on the campus by the suspended students, Vemula hanged himself in his friend’s room on January 17, 2016.
The suicide led to widespread protests on the campus by Dalit groups seeking justice for Vemula and action against the vice-chancellor. They also blamed Union Minister Smriti Irani, Bandau Dattatreya and other BJP leaders for the Dalit students’ suspension.
The protests later spread to campuses across the country.