HYDERABAD: Politics and protests over the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in the University of Hyderabad took centre- stage with a host of politicos including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi making a beeline to the university campus -- all demanding action against Union minister of state for labour and BJP veteran Bandaru Dattatreya and vice- chancellor P Appa Rao.
In fact, Rahul Gandhi airdashed to the city in a special flight from Delhi on Tuesday morning and drove straight to UoH where he first spoke to the students about the circumstances which led to Rohith’s suicide, consoled the mother after which he addressed the students.
Also Read: Police to Question Dattatreya, VC
Clad in a kurta and denim, Gandhi, who appeared just short of using his usual ‘intolerance’ jibe at BJP, seemed to have toned down his attack, perhaps after the student leaders repeatedly appealed to all politicos not to politicise Rohith’s suicide.
Holding Dattatreya and Appa Rao responsible for the suicide, the Congress vice- president said they had ‘’created the situation’’ for Rohith’s suicide even as a section of students raised the slogan ‘‘BJP hatao..Dalit bachao..’’
He went on to say that there was a need for a legislation which grants mimimum rights to every Indian student, which he said, will ensure that every student can express themselves freely. ‘’The idea of a university is knowledge and when someone imposes an idea and tells the students that only that idea is acceptable, then it is painful. Some youngsters expressed their ideas here and the University, instead of letting them speak, crushed their voice which resulted in Rohith’s suicide,’’ Rahul Gandhi said addressing the students of UoH, which is on the boil.
Stating that there was no question of politicising the issue, Rahul Gandhi said that the vice-chancellor P Appa Rao and Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya did not act in a fair manner. ‘’The result of this is that a youngster who came here to improve the country and express himself, has died. Rohith was put to so much pain that there was no option before him but to kill himself.’’
Accompanied by several Congress leaders including TPCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy, Gandhi said that the VC should not continue in his post. ‘’When a university student dies, whether it is an accident, suicide or natural causes, it is the duty of the vice chancellor to meet the family members of those students. But in this case, the vice- chancellor does not have the decency to meet Rohith’s family which is an insult not only to the country but also every teacher in the institution.’’
‘’Whoever is responsible for Rohith’s death should be punished in the strictest possible manner. Don’t think you (students) are alone as this (students not being able to express themselves) is happening in every univeristy in India,’’ Gandhi said.
The MIM supremo, who visited UoH later in the day, went a step ahead as he challenged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ‘’open his mouth and tweet that Rohith’s death does not go in vain.’’
Holding the BJP leaders responsible for death of Rohith, Owaisi demanded Modi to suspend Dattatreya from the cabinet. Extending support to protesting students, Owaisi, lashed out at the vice-chancellor Appa Rao. “If he has any humanity left in him, he should voluntarily leave the post and walk out of this campus. It’s a shame on Appa Rao that he did not even meet the family of Rohith, after his death.”
Owaisi said that the demand of students, which included a compensation of `5 crore to the family of Rohith and a permanent job at UoH for one his family members, be met immediately. He said, the university administration has forced Rohith to end his life. Hence it’s not a suicide, but an institutional murder.
But the influx of politicos did not end with Rahul Gandhi and Asaduddin Owaisi. Later, CPM state secretary Tammineni Veerabhadram visited the campus and interacted with the students. Addressing the gathering, he said, “We are all with you. The fight must continue until justice is done.” He also extended support to the demands of students.
Noted educationalist Chukka Ramaiah, a team from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) were also among the politicians who visited the campus on Tuesday while another team from Trinamool Congress is expected to arrive on Wednesday.
In evening, a few BJP leaders tried to enter the campus but the students prevented them and even damaged their vehicles by pelting stones.
Earlier in the day, Telangana Jagruti Youth Front activists staged a protest demonstration outside Dattatreya’s residence. Police personnel anticipating trouble took the activists into preventive custody.
Later, ABVP workers tried to obstruct Rahul’s convoy at Begumpet airport and tension prevailed for sometime as the police struggled to remove them.
Top politicos, including Rahul Gandhi, Derek O’Brien and Asaduddin Owaisi visit Hyderabad University. CPM leaders also troop in
Cyberabad cops to question Dattatreya, others. Telangana police send ‘factual report’ to Home Ministry on Rohith’s death
Top officials of the university, including V-C Appa Rao, vacate their residential quarters over security concerns, move out of campus
Telangana Scheduled Caste Corporation chairman approaches State Human Rights Commission, seeks a detailed inquiry into suicide
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal demands sacking of HRD Minister Smriti Irani, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya
FAUX PAS AGAIN?
When Rahul Gandhi said that everyone should have a right to express themselves irrespective of their caste, religion, hairstyle, what clothes they wear, some of the students yelled saying ‘have some sense man.’