To avenge Rohith Vemula’s death, former students conspire to assassinate Hyderabad Central University Vice-Chancellor

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The students were a member of Maoist party

HYDERABAD: State police on Friday foiled a plot to assassinate Hyderabad Central University Vice-Chancellor Dr Podile Appa Rao by former varsity students to avenge Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula’s death.

According to Andhra Pradesh police, the two accused persons – 27-year-old Ankala Prudviraj and 28-year-old Chandan Kumar Mishra – are former university students and associated with Maoist party. The duo was arrested near Pitchukulapadu Junction on Bhadrachalam-Cherla Road while they were allegedly returning from Bastar forests, after meeting Yapa Narayana alias Haribhushan, the secretary of Telangana State Committee of CPI (Maoist).

Prudviraj, who belongs from Krishna district of the state, and Mishra, from West Bengal’s Howrah district, believed in Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology. Following several incidents in the varsity, including Vemula’s death, the duo joined the Left party. They were later given the task to kill the Vice-Chancellor over the anger and antagonism among students after Vemula’s suicide three years ago. The assassination would also help the Maoist party get more recruitments.

“In January 2018, they met Haribhushan in a forest area between Cherla and Venkatapuram with the help of a Maoist courier. Haribhushan explained the party`s principles, ideology and asked them to try for maximum student recruitment from the university,” read an official statement of Andhra police.

“During the discussion, Rohith Vemula`s suicide and the repercussions of the incident were also discussed and they decided that if Appa Rao was killed in the name of the Maoist party, many students would join the party,” it added.

Mishra, who joined the Hyderabad Central University in 2013 for a post-graduate course, was a member of the Telangana Praja Front and SFI.

Both the accused were produced before a court, which sent them to judicial custody.

V-C Dr Rao is yet to comment on the incident.

Earlier, Prudviraj was reportedly arrested after he was caught escorting a woman believed to be the wife of Pulluri Prasada Rao alias Chandranna. He was later released on bail.

Rohith Vemula, a 28-year-old Dalit research scholar at the University of Hyderabad, was found hanging in his friend’s hostel room on January 17, 2016. Alleging caste discrimination, his friends and family claimed that the varsity had stopped paying a fellowship of Rs 25,000 which forced him to take the drastic step.

His suicide had triggered a massive political row.