The Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Social Justice of the University of Hyderabad on Tuesday vehemently opposed the honour bestowed on university vice chancellor Podile Apparao by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Indian National Science Congress held in Tirupati.
Professor Podile is one of the suspects in the suicide case of research scholar Rohith Vemula, booked under the SC/ST Atrocities Act. Rohith was reportedly driven to suicide on January 17, 2016, by the UoH administration.
“The prime minister honoured and awarded Podile Apparao, a plagiarist, substandard scholar and a criminal accused under the SC/ST Act with the Millennium Plaque of Honour in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Y S Chowdary who were none other than strong lobbyists for Podile Apparao,” the JAC said in a statement released here on Tuesday.
“The greatest tragedy about the conferring of the science award on Apparao is that he is a disgrace to the spirit of scientific temper. He is not only a believer in the unscientific caste system, but also a proven plagiarist and the worst administrator. Podile Apparao has been a disgrace to the scientific community,” said Dontha Prashanth, one of the scholars barred from entering hostels along with Rohith Vemula.
The JAC further said that a fact-finding report endorsed by some of the top scientists in the country has said that the vice chancellor failed to discharge his responsibilities in a non-partisan manner in the Rohith Vemula case, and failed to protect academic freedom on campus. Apparao himself failed to act on Vemula’s letter in December 2015, displaying an alarming lack of empathy. Further, the administration failed to prevent the assault by police on dissenting students on March 22, 2016, the JAC said.