India is already badly affected by intolerance issues due to provocative statements by some BJP leaders or saffron clad leaders and now the dalits are being targeted. Rohith Vemula, a second-year research scholar of science, technology and society studies department at the University of Hyderabad was forced to take an extreme step of committing suicide just a month following a tussle with students affiliated with the student wing of the BJP, Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
Fresh protests erupted against Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and the Vice-Chancellor over the suicide of Dalit PhD scholar Vemula Rohith in Central University at Hyderabad while leaders from the various political parties including the BSP and Trinamool Congress landed in University to express their solidarity with students and pressurize the Modi government to sack the Union Minister. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi along with general secretary Digvijaya Singh set to meet students in Hyderabad University.
The Telangana Jagruti Yuva Morcha held protest outside Dattatreya’s residence in Hyderabad.Congress demanded that HRD Minister Smriti Irani should be removed along with Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, against whom a FIR has been lodged.
Party spokesperson Kumari Selja told reporters that both Irani and Dattatreya should resign or else Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take action against the two by sacking them.
Rohith Vemula, a second-year research scholar of science, technology and society studies department at the University of Hyderabad, was found hanging from the ceiling of a room in the New Research Scholars’ Hostel late on Sunday.
He was one of the five Dalit students suspended and expelled from the hostel for staging a protest on the campus for the past 15 days.
Letter by Rohith
Now a letter written by Rohith a month before his suicide has surfaced in which he requests Vice Chancellor to provide him with ‘poision’, Vemula wrote to the Vice Chancellor, asking him to give poison or “a nice rope” to Dalit students. Rohith repeatedly mentioned “(the) Dalit self-respect movement” and suggested their persecution on campus was so widespread that “euthanasia” should be allowed for “students like me.”
But in his suicide letter, written the day before he hanged himself, Vemula made it clear that he did not blame anyone for driving him to suicide. He made no reference to his caste. “No one is responsible, no one has instigated me. Do not trouble my friends and enemies on this after I am gone,” he said in the long note.
What forced him to take such a drastic step and also to leave in writing that nobody should be blamed for his suicide. When it is clear that Vemula suicide comes just days when he alongwith his four friends, all members of the Ambedkar Students’ Association, who were suspended for allegedly beating a leader of the BJP’s student wing, the ABVP.
The letter suggests that the extreme action by Rohith was a result of discrimination against Dalit students at the behest of Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, who had written a letter to HRD Minister Smriti Irani, seeking action against their “anti-national acts”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday described the suicide of the Hyderabad Dalit student as “murder of democracy, social justice and equality”.
“It’s not suicide. It’s murder. It’s murder of democracy, social justice and equality. (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji should sack ministers and apologise to the nation,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.
“(The) Modi government (is) constitutionally duty bound to uplift Dalits. Instead, Modi ji’s ministers got five Dalit students ostracised and suspended.”
Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani now comes into action as a team has ben sent to the campus to probe the incident. Official sources said that the team led by Shakila T Shamsu, OSD in the HRD ministry, will be accompanied by a Deputy Secretary level officer Surat Singh to look into the entire matter and submit the report to the ministry.