India university reopens after protests over Dalit student death

Activist of a Dalit organization participate in a candle light vigil holding photographs of Indian student Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016. Image copyright AP
Image caption Students of Hyderabad Central University want justice for Rohith Vemula

A university in south India has reopened after protests over the death of a Dalit student forced it to shut.

Rohith Vemula, a PhD student, killed himself inside the campus of Hyderabad Central University last month.

He was one of five Dalit, formerly known as untouchables, students who were protesting against their expulsion from the university's housing facility.

Mr Vemula's friends have blamed the university's top officials and a federal minister for his death.

The BBC Hindi's Imran Qureshi says the protesting students decided to return to classes after arriving at a "conditional agreement" with the newly appointed vice-chancellor of the university.

The university has already revoked the suspension of the four other Dalit students following the uproar over Mr Vemula's death.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The university was shut down on 18 January after Mr Vemula's death

The university was shut on 18 January after Mr Vemula, a research scholar, took his own life.

Mr Vemula's friends want action to be taken against the university's senior officials as well as federal minister Bandaru Dattatreya, who is accused of pressurising university officials to take action against the Dalit students.

Students across India have held protests over the incident.

Mr Vemula and the four other students faced allegations last year that they attacked a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) - the student wing of India's ruling BJP. They all denied the charge.

The university cleared them in an initial inquiry, but reversed its decision in December.

The five Dalit students were subsequently barred from using the university's housing and other facilities, reports say, prompting their supporters to allege they had been subject to a "social boycott".

More on this story