Rohith Vemula was found hanging on Sunday at a hostel in Hyderabad Central University
Hyderabad: The suicide of a student who was suspended and banned from the hostel last month has ignited fierce protests at a Hyderabad university. Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya has been charged with aiding the suicide with a letter he had written in August.
Here are 10 developments in the big story:
Rohith Vemula, 26, a doctorate student at the Hyderabad Central University, was found hanging in a hostel room on Sunday. "No one is responsible for my act of killing myself," he wrote in a suicide note.
Students sat with Rohith's body all night and raised slogans, alleging that he was the victim of social boycott. The protests intensified after a police team took away the body this morning and arrested eight students.
Rohith and four other research scholars had been living in a tent outside the campus gate since they were thrown out of the hostel on December 21 and asked to stay away from the mess and other common areas. Rohith was "heartbroken", his friends say.
"Why were we not informed about the punishment?" asked Rohith's mother, a tailor in Guntur, mourning her oldest son.
The five students, all members of the Ambedkar union, had been accused of attacking an activist of the BJP's student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in August, allegedly during a protest against the execution of 1993 Bombay blasts convict Yakub Memon
The university cleared them in an initial inquiry, but reversed its decision in December. Students alleged that it is part of the larger discrimination of Dalit students and also blamed union minister Bandaru Dattatreya's letter to Education Minister Smriti Irani alleging that the university had become a "den of casteist, extremist and anti-national politics."
Bandaru Dattatreya and the vice chancellor face charges of abetting Rohith's suicide. The minister rubbished the allegations and said: "Some anti-social elements were disrupting peaceful atmosphere within the university, I wrote to the ministry seeking action against that."
Education minister Smriti Irani, who has sent a team to investigate what happened, refused to comment on the university crisis, saying it was the state government's domain.
Rohith's friends said on Sunday morning, he had shared his pain at being discriminated against. Hours later, he quietly went into a hostel room and hanged himself. "Uma anna, sorry for using your room for this thing," he wrote in his suicide note.
In the long note, Rohith also shared that he "always wanted to be a science writer like Carl Sagan" and that he felt "just empty".