Return of an institutional killer: UoH Alumni’s open letter

UoH Alumni Open Letter against the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula, the return of Dr. Appa Rao as UoH’s VC, and the brutal display of state violence in campus.
As alumni of the University of Hyderabad, we observed with dismay the return of Dr. Appa Rao Podile as the Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad (UoH) on March 22. We strongly condemn this provocation that led to the police brutality on campus. The shutdown of the university which has followed is unacceptable and unlawful.

A couple of days ago, a report ranked three departments of the University of Hyderabad among the top 500 university facilities in the world. The education we received at UoH helped us to not only shape our careers, but also to question, critique and analyse concepts such as equality, fraternity and social justice.  Upon entering a central university of this size, we were exposed to the sheer diversity of this country. UoH, like other central universities in India, is an amalgam of many languages, cultures, religions and regions.

However, much like the rest of the country, the university campus is a space where systematically oppressive caste structures operate and are institutionally legitimised. Recent events at UoH have left us dismayed and angered at the treatment meted out to peacefully protesting students at the hands of the administration and the police.

Suicides of Dalit students have been recurring in UoH.  While such incidents continue unabated across the country, the issue spiralled into a nationwide students’ protest with the untimely death of Dalit scholar and social activist Rohith Vemula on January 17th. Rohith’s suicide note gives us glimpses into the individual that he was — an astute observer of the human condition. His progressive ideas gave hope, especially to marginalised groups, for whom he fought tirelessly. The son of a Dalit mother who makes her living out of a sewing machine, he proudly bore his mother’s identity and fought for the rights of all people regardless of caste, class, gender and sexuality. He was especially vocal about the plight of Dalit students, a 200-million-strong population that has historically been denied fair opportunities to achieve social mobility in Indian society. It is unforgivable that the university administration could not save him.

A grave problem lies, therefore, in the fact that as of March 22, Dr. Appa Rao Podile, who mismanaged the suspension of Rohith and others, leading to his suicide, has resumed the office of the VC after two months of leave. This is highly inappropriate especially given that a non-bailable charge is registered against him under the SC/ST Atrocities Act and a judicial inquiry to determine accountability is still pending.

The morning of Rao’s return saw an unprecedented display of violence in the campus. The media reported that the students pelted stones and ransacked the VC’s lodge. But, information from several sources, especially eyewitness accounts from students, faculty and non-teaching staff, contests mainstream media reports. There is ample footage of the police brutally assaulting students with lathis. Some police personnel allegedly threatened to rape students. Even faculty members were not spared.

After the incident, the university has been locked down with no food (14 messes have shut operations), water, electricity (in some parts), and no internet connectivity. This cannot be the reality of a central university, where, as we write this letter, ATM cards linked to student accounts have been blocked barring students from making essential purchases. Students who attempted to cook for their peers were severely beaten up by the police for the absurd crime of ‘cooking in a public place’. The administration has imposed an emergency-like situation in one of India’s biggest universities. Today UoH resembles a surveillance state with students being attacked, and their basic needs like food, water and money being denied to them. As the University and state administration try to starve out its own students by using state machinery and the law to wage war on members of a public institution, the response of the city has been heartening, with residents of Hyderabad cooking and delivering food and water to the students.

In light of these developments, we appeal to all citizens to keep asking the unpleasant questions that Rohith’s suicide has raised; questions about the persistence of caste in our educational institutions, and the present government’s apathy and refusal to hold the university administration accountable. Universities are spaces for understanding our complex social structures where questions are and must be raised against the abuse of power and authoritarianism.

We the undersigned alumni of this university-in-turmoil write to draw attention to the atrocities that the students are experiencing for raising their voices against injustice. We stand with the students and faculty around the country in universities like UoH, JNU, FTII, DU, IIT Madras, University of Allahabad and numerous others that are fighting to uphold the freedoms that are guaranteed by our constitution. We stand with Radhika Vemula and her ongoing courageous struggle for justice against a casteist and patriarchal administration. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of students and faculty members who were ambushed and taken into judicial custody on the morning of March 22. We condemn any kind of violence that tries to suppress freedom of expression and seeks instead to spread fear. Let all students and citizens debate to make India the safest example of a real grassroot democracy. Let them speak for a just world where everyone feels safe to just be.





NameAffiliationCourse of study
Nanditha MathewResearch Fellow, National Research Council, Italy.M.A and M.Phil Economics
Aabha SharmaKPMG IndiaIMA Political Science
Hameeda C. K.Student, JNU 
VG BalajiAlumnus 
Gopika G GPhD Scholar, Centre for Development Studies 
Krishnendu AdiyatStudent 
Vaishnavi ShankarInstructional DesignerMA English
Anu SalelkarAlumni, Student, Hyderabad Central University 
Juby GeorgeEditor, Higher ed publisher 
Silpa SatheeshStudent, University of South Florida 
Alamuru SoumyaFrelane research scholar 
Shauhrat S. ChopraPostdoctoral Researcher, Institute of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago 
Carmel ChristyPostdoctoral fellow, University of California Santa Cruz 
Shijo VargheseAsst. Professor, Sacred Heart College, Thevara 
A.P SreerajAssistant Professor, CUR 
Abhigna SAcademic Editor 
Bestin SamuelWriter, World Vision IndiaM.A English and MPhil Comparative Literature
Maithreyi M RSenior editor, BNHS-India 
Ramesh BairyAssociate professor, IITB 
Navika HarsheHCU/ alum 
Anirban DeyEditor, Cambridge University Press 
Bindhulakshmi PAssociate Professor, TISS, Mumbai 
Shipra NigamResearch Scholar , New Delhi 
Jaseena t pStudent 
Tore HolstExternal lecturer, university of RoskildeMA English
Diana GomesAlumni, UoHM.F.A Painting
Rakesh NanjappaStudent, State University of New York 
Priya VijayPhD scholar, JNUM.A English and MPhil Comparative Literature
Shamsudheen U. KHCU alumni 
Aparna RHCU alumni 
Samiah SultanaEx-student, University of Hyderabad 
Mahaprajna NayakCSSSC, Kolkata 
Kirti Ajith VarmaIndependent researcher 
Meghana RaoPhD Student, University of Toronto 
Faiza HasanAlumni, University of Hyderbad 
Savitha SureshStudent, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore 
Merlin Abey TheressaAnalyst, Private Firm 
Soumava BasuStudent 
Jithin MathewStudent IIT B 
Soumya BalanStudent 
Nithin MAssistant Professor, MCC 
Dhaneesh M PM.Phil Research Scholar 
Sreekumar jayadevanIIT Jodhpur 
ManjariStudent, Central University of Gujarat 
Ojas ShettyIndependent ResearcherMA Anthropology
Sheeja RajagopalStudent, IITMMA English
Abhishek BakuliStudent, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung 
Abir DasguptaStudent, TISSMSc Physics
R K DebbarmaAssistant Professor, TISS, Guwahati campus 
Rahul DeshmukhStudent, City University of New York 
Gowri ShankarStudent, UOH 
Muhammed PResearch Scholar, EFL University, Hyderabad 
DeeptiChief copy editor, The Times of India 
Sujata MishraPolicy Researcher 
Rohit ThapaFellow, Teach For IndiaMBA Marketing
Himanshu UpadhyayaAssistant Professor, Azim Premji University 
M Naresh KumarStudent 
Tore HolstRecent PhD Graduate/Roskilde University 
Shilpaa AnandAssistant Professor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University Hyderabad 
Monty MajeedJournalist 
ManjariStudent, Central University of Gujarat 
Vikas Kumar MoolaM.Phil Social Sciences, CSSSCIMA Sociology
SALMA ASHRAFSTUDENT, University of Hyderabad 
Richa GuptaCentre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta/PhD research scholarMA English
Kevin B. HaynesStudent, Western Michigan University 
Nandini ChandrashekarStudent 
M Naresh KumarStudent/University of HyderbadMA English
Kedar KulkarniStudent, University of Hyderabad 
Nikhilesh SinhaLecturer, Hult International Business School, LondonMA Economics
Arpan GangulyStudent, UoH/Graduate Instructor, Colorado State University 
Tejaswini MadabhushiIIIT, HyderabadMA Sociology
Srinath raghunathanStudent 
Karteek KunnalaStudent 
Knut AuklandPhd candidate, University of Bergen, Norway 
Asamol Mohanstudent 
Lijinesh M Tstudent 
Ratheesh RadhakrishnanAssociate Professor, Dept. of HSS, IIT Bombay 
Devi G RPhD scholar, Dept. of Physics, IIT MadrasM.Sc. Physics
Laishram PriyankaAlumni, University of Hyderabad 
SharmilaAssociate Professor, Dept. of HSS, IIT Bombay 
Yacoub Zachariah KuruvillaPhd Research Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai 
Rekha AbelIndependent Development ConsultantPh.D. Linguistics
Alex M. ThomasSenior Lecturer, Azim Premji UniversityMA and MPhil Economics
K.SrilataProfessor, Dept of HSS, IITMMA,  MPhil and PhD English
Tejaswini NiranjanaProfessor, TISS and Lingnan University 
Swati BandiIndependent ScholarFaculty
Sujith Parayilstudent 
Paromita BoseAssistant Professor, Mahindra Ecole CentraleM.Phil, PhD English
Jayanti K ChhetriAlumini, University of Hyderabad 
Suresh PittalaPostdoc at Indian Institute of Science 
Sanjeev C MAssistant Professor, NIFTMFA Painting
Jasmeet SahiFreelance writerMA English
Anupama SEx Student UoH 
Priyanka DasStudent, UOH 
Sanjeev RoutraySessional Lecturer, University of British Columbia 
Shashikantha KoudurAssociate Professor, NIT, Karnataka 
Amrit Amlan PattanaikSenior Lecturer, Xavier University Bhubaneswar 
Unika PrustyFreelance Journalist & Independent Researcher 
Bidyut Sagar BoruahIndependent Researcher 
Dharashree DasPhD Candidate, Simon Fraser University, Canada 
Gurveen KaurIndependent Researcher, Alumnus 
Pridhvi SabbineniAlumnus,University of Hyderabad (Physics) 
Mohsin KhanEconomist/consultant – Deloitte MalaysiaMA Economics
Sawmya RayAssociate Professor, IITG 
Vaskar UpadhyayUoH, MA English, 2001. Currently based IN, US 
Kiriti KanjilalPhD Student, Washington State University 
Koshy TharakanProfessor, Goa University 
Kushal DebProfessor, Dept. of HSS, IIT Bombay 
Navaneetha Mokkil MaruthurAssistant Professor, JNU 
TV MadhuProfessor, University of Calicut 
Lourembam ArnoldStudent, University of Hyderabad 
Sudeshna DeviStudent, Jawaharlal Nehru University 
Shravan KumarAlumni, University of HyderabadMA Communication – SN School
Avinandan MukherjeeAlumnus, University of HyderabadMA English
SwathysreePhD Candidate, IIM Calcutta 
Akhila M VAlumnus, University of Hyderabad 
J S SamSocial Scientist 
Sujith SNArtist.MFA – SN School
Uday Bhaskar SharmaSenior Research Fellow, IMSc, Chennai.M.Sc. Mathematics (Integrated)
Madhusudan NagResearch Scholar, Centre for Development StudiesM.A in Economics
Umasankar PatraUniversity of Delhi, DelhiMA English
Vishal BabuEditor, Viva Books Private LimitedMA English
Parvathy RajendranStudent,JNU 
AnandavardhananAssociate Professor, IIT Bombay 
Vipin KrishnaJNU PHD Student 
Jaya PeterStudent, HCU,HYDERABAD 
Rekha AbelIndependent Development Consultant 
Divyaprabha V JStudent 
Anita CherianAssistant Professor in English, Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi 
Bindu K CAmbedkar University/ Assistant Professor 
Anupama Ayyala SomayajalaCentral University, Gujarat/Assistant Professor 
Venkatesh babuStudent 
Anil kumarStudent 
Madhumita BiswalCentral University, Assistant Professor 
Sudarshan PapannaCentral University, Gujarat/Assistant Professor 
Abhishek ShawAssistant Editor, Economic and Political Weekly 
Jomy AbrahamPhD research scholar, JNU 
Deepak RajulaStudent, UOH 
Kranthi NanduriFellow student, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta 
Reshma RadhakrishnanResearch Scholar, Delhi University 
Parvathi K. IyerAssistant Professor CUG 
Amit UpadhyayAssistant Professor, TISS HyderabadMA Sociology
Rituparna Suruniversity of hyderabad 
D ParthasarathyIIT Bombay Professor 
Ratheesh KumarJNU/ Assistant Professor 
Rajyashree SenPhD student, Janelia Research Campus, VA 
Dr. Robin Luke VargheseIndependent ResearcherMA, MPhil, PhD Philosophy
Niveditha KalarikkalAssistant Professor, , Central University of Gujarat 
Shamsiya QosimovaIndependent Contractor, BBC Monitoring in Dushanbe 
Sunitha MLead Technical Writer, Wipro Technologies, Hyderabad 
Saiyora SaimurodovaStudent, Master of Arts in Sociology, HCU 
K.L.LeonEx-Student,SN School,Painting 
Dr.D.AnandAsst. Regional Director , Indira gandhi National Open University 
Asmita ChaudhuriProject Fellow, Jadavpur UniversityMA, Applied Linguistics
Samik MallaResearch Scholar, IIT Madras 
Smrti K.PIxD Architect, NokiaMPhil English, PhD Translation Studies
Dr. Itishree PattnaikAssistant Professor, GIDRPhd Economics
Naresh SEx-Student,SSB 
Shivali TukdeoNIAS, Bangalore 
Milan George JacobHindustan Times, New DelhiIMA Economics
S. AnandPublisher, NavyanaMA and Mphil, Department of English
Elizabeth PriyankaEx-student, MA CommunicationSN School.
Sumanta ThangjamPhd, Philosophy 
Thushara MohananEx Student , MA CommunicationSN School
Pritipushpa MishraLecturer, University of SouthamptonMA History
Jasmine YimchungerAssistant Proffessor, Sikkim UniversityMA Communications – SN School
Balendu RashmiBhumika Women’s CollectiveIntegrated Masters in Sociology
Sudha SamyuktaPRIAIntegrated Masters in Sociology
Geetha KrishnaPRIAIntegrated Masters in Sociology
Vinitha MokshagundamLecturer, Mount Carmel College, BangaloreMA, M.Phil, History
Ado KehieStudent, IIT GuhatiMA Sociology
Ganga BhavaniHCU 
Jaishree Ram MohanEditor, 
ThungchobeniAssistant Professor,Alder College,Kohima. 
Jyotsna YedemHCU AlumnusMA English
Akshara RavishankarAssistant Professor, Gargi College 
Themeem TAsst. professor, St. Stephens College, Delhi 
VinithaLecturer, Mount Carmel College, Bangalore 
Suresh K Gollestudent 
Pattela Omkar NadhStudent 
Malavika RaoPerformance maker 
MonicaEx Student from UOH 
Minu. AAlumni 
Kiran SikhaStudent 
Naveen Kumar PStudent 
Deepthi Krisha TStudent 
Santosh GurraniAlumni, Hyderabad Central University 
Chandra Kiran KattaCommunication Specialist/NGO 
Queenie Fanconstudent 
Shravan KumarUniversity of Hyderabad – Alumni 
DhilipIndependent Researcher 
Aswani RSHCU Student 
Monica NanjundaUniversity Of Hyderabad – AlumniSN School Of Fine Arts
Kedar KulkarniResearch Assistant, FEEM, ItalyIMA Economics
Rakesh R.Assistant Proffessor, St. John’s CollegeMA and MPhil, Department of English
Imlienla JamirStudent, Analog IASIMA Political Science
Ekta SinglaStudent, UCL-Institute of Education, LondonMA Applied Linguistics
S SayujyaAlumnus, UoHMPhil English
Anwesha ChakrabortyPhd Student, University of BolognaMA English
Ratan LaishramAlumni HCUMA Economics
Sunil Kumar PolamuriIT ProfessionalMA Applied Linguistics
Sukriti KapurStudent, Erasmus Mundus Masters ProgramMA Economics
Tharakeshwar V.B.Teacher, EFL UniversityPh.D. English
Madhurima MajumderResearch fellow, Anveshi 
M B Sudha RaniMedia ProfessionalMA Mass Communications
Rakesh SenguptaPost-doctoral researcher, York University, TorontoPh.D., Cognitive Science
G Naga Sena RanaMedia ProfessionalMA Mass Communications
Sopei Joel RungsungMedia ProfessionalMA Mass Communications
Aravind ParakkotAlumnusMA English
Anu K antonyResearch fellow, IIT, BombayMA, Mphil Sociology
Anna MiniFreelance writerMA Political Science
Anas Nazar MA Political Science
Rajeswari SAlumnus 
Yanger Kichu MA History
Asima JenaAssistant professor,Central University of Gujarat 
Anuradha BanerjiResearch Scholar, Ambedkar University 
Sreejith TStudent 
Mrudula BhavaniEx-student 
Anju Christine LinghamStudent, King’s College London, University of London 
Arathi RStudent 
Lakshmi PriyaStudent 
Pranith MaddiralaSN School, University of Hyderabad 
Esfandiar Adina (Rahim Rahimov)Student 
sukhvinder multanieducationist and researcher 
Varunika SarafArtistMFA Painting
Monu RajanAlumnus, UoH 
Shriya sharmaStudent 
Abhilash AugustineStudent, JNU 
madhav vinodhStudent, UoH 
Kathi Mahesh KumarStudent 
Nagesh MuppavaramStudent 
Hariprasad RStudent, central university of hyderabad 
Sujatha GirijaAlumnae of HCU 
Harini KumarPhD student, University of Chicago 
Elsa OommenWarwick 
Mariyam Mumthasstudent 
Anoop DanielStudent 
GautamiAlumnus/University of Hyderabad 
Nargis VasundharaStudent, Ph.D, Delhi University 
Abin ThomasStudent, King’s College London 
Pleasa Serin Abraha,Researcher, IIT BombayM.A Economics
Ajmal S. RasaqPhD student, JNUM.A. Political Science
KV Nagesh BabuAssistant Professor, SMCS, TISSM.A. Communication
P NiranjanaAssistant Professor, SMCS, TISSM.A. Communication
Probal DasguptaLinguistic Research Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata 
Bharath KumarIIT IndorePhD Philosophy
Aparna NandakumarAssistant Professor, Providence Women’s College, KozhikodeMA English, MPhil Comparative Literature
Jenson JosephAlumnus, UoHPhD
Kalpana KannabiranCouncil for Social Development Hyderabad 
Richa SharmaAlumnus 
Thanzeel NazerResearch Scholar, Delhi School of Economics, Department of SociologyM.A.Sociology
A. Giridhar RaoAzim Premji University, BengaluruMA, MPhil, PhD English
Aishwarya PothulaInternational Institute of Social Studies, The HagueIMA Economics
Vidya RanganLondon, United KingdomMA Economics
Abdhi SarkarStudentM.Sc. Statistics
Prathibha RadhakrishnanAlumna 
Suma SambraniAlumnus, Department of English 
Medi Pramukhscholar, Pondicher 
Sumedha BajarPost doctoral fellow, NIAS 
Mohit Kumar PandeyStudent, JNU 
Rakesh MeharJournalist, The News Minute 
shipra nigamResearcher, JNU 
Fareeda farsanaStudent 
Gurram SrinivasAssociate Professor, JNU, New Delhi 
Rajarshi SenguptaPhd student, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada 
Ankush SahaUoH alumni 
Hokato AwomiHCU AlumniMA HISTORY
Nairita GhoshAlumni 
Swathi KrishnaPhD scholar, IISER MohaliMSc Mathematics
Kailash ThakurHCU AlumnusM.A. Sociology
Clinta P SHCU AlumniMPhil English
Shruthi HMSenior Reporter, New Indian Express, BangaloreMA Communication
Achyut KulkarniGroupM-ESPIMA Economics
Dr Srutikantha D ParidaEconomist, AP planning DepartmentPhD, Economics
Raghu Narayanan PradeepGraduate student, Arizona state University, USAIntegrated masters in chemical sciences
Payal SudhanCUG/Research Scholar 
Fasna N KStudent 
Pratibha AnandProject Manager, Volvo 
Suvarna Cherukuri M.A. Sociology


Leave a Reply