The professor was actively involved in the protests surrounding the death of Rohith Vemula.
Image: Facebook/Uday Kumar

The SC/ST Teachers’ Forum of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) on Monday held a protest at the varsity’s administration building, against alleged discrimination meted out to a professor.

Faculty members and students gathered and demanded an apology from University VC Appa Rao Podile.

The forum alleged that Professor Sudhakar Babu, a full time faculty at the Academic Staff College, and also a convener of the SC/ST Teachers’ Forum, was ‘humiliated’ by the university administration.

“A few days ago, when a meeting was to be organized to review and discuss issues related to the Academic Staff College, Prof. Sudhakar was shocked to find that his name was not listed in the list of invitees to the meeting that was supposed to be headed by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Appa Rao Podile, on whom there is incidentally still an SC/ST atrocities case pending with regard to the death of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit student,” the forum said in a press release.

The forum also alleged that Sudhakar received a notice ahead of the meeting, asking him to make himself “available” around the venue of the meeting, but outside the actual meeting, so that he could be called in any time for giving explanations related to particular agenda items.

The professor and the forum were actively involved in the protests surrounding the death of Vemula, and they alleged that this is what triggered the “continuous ongoing systemic discrimination and humiliation.”

They also said that this was not the first time that such an incident was taking place.

“The treatment meted out to someone like Prof. Sudhakar is a blatant act of discrimination because this is typically not the way any coordinator of any center in the University, or any faculty member, would be treated in usual circumstances, particularly if they are from privileged and powerful communities,” the forum’s statement read.

They also alleged that such acts of discrimination were furthering the administration’s “agenda of making the University space hostile and violent towards the Dalit students, teachers, administrative staff and the workers”.

Following the protest, two Pro-Vice Chancellors spoke to the agitating teachers and students, and promised to constitute a committee to look into the issue. However, they were reportedly not willing to apologize.

The faculty and students rejected the offer of a committee, and reiterated their demand for an unconditional apology from the university administration.

The forum also called for “an immediate end to discriminatory practices in the University, which includes bringing to justice the culprits behind such structural violence and discrimination on University members hailing from marginalized communities.”