Rahul Gandhi makes a stir in Hyderabad

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi attacks BJP; calls for a law against discrimination at universities

Hydrabad: The protest over the suicide of a Dalit research scholar in the University of Hyderabad intensified with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi joining the agitators at the campus on Saturday. For more than 12 hours, Rahul Gandhi sat with students and the family members of Rohith Vemula, who are on hunger strike, demanding justice.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi with students at the University of Hyderabad during a protest over Rohith Vemula’s death in Hyderabad. pic/PTI
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi with students at the University of Hyderabad during a protest over Rohith Vemula’s death in Hyderabad. pic/PTI

He also participated in a candlelight vigil after midnight and spent the night on campus. He remained seated along with the students at the protest venue near Shopping Complex to mark the birth anniversary of Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide two weeks ago. He was seated with four other Dalit students, who were suspended along with Rohith and also Rohith’s mother and brother.

Dozens of other students are also on a day-long hunger strike to press the demand for the resignation of Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and action against him and others responsible for the suicide. “I am here today at the request of Rohith’s friends and family, to stand with them in their fight for justice,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi, who visited the campus for the second time in less than a week. “A young life full of dreams and aspirations was cut short,” he tweeted. While paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary, Gandhi commented ‘we owe it to him, to the memory of Gandhiji and to every single Indian student who dreams of an India free from prejudice and injustice’.”

Rallying behind Gandhi, the party on Saturday blamed the Centre for the death of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula. “Rahul Gandhi always becomes the voice of the people whether they are farmers, Dalits or safai karmacharis. He is the voice of the poor and the underprivileged in the country,” Congress leader Ajay Maken told reporters.

“It is unfortunate that the BJP condemned Rahul Gandhi’s participation in the candle march. Instead of probing the role of the vice chancellor , they are blaming Rahul Gandhi ji for politicising the issue. It is very unfortunate,” he added. “Was it not politicising the matter when on the complaint of the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) president, BJP minister Bandaru Dattatreya wrote a letter to HRD Minister Smriti Irani ji and she wrote five letters to Hyderabad university to probe the matter?”

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