Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Varun Gandhi said that he broke down after reading Hyderabad University scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide note.
While delivering a lecture on the “Ideas for a new India” organised by a private school in Delhi, Gandhi said, “Rohit Vemula, a dalit Ph.D student from Hyderabad committed suicide last year. When I read his letter, I broke into tears. Rohit wrote that he was taking the extreme step because he had committed the sin of taking birth in such form. This line pained my heart immensely.”
Gandhi also raised concerns on caste discrimination prevalent in the country.
“Seventy per cent kids in a school didn’t eat their lunch under the midday meal scheme for quite some time as the food was cooked by a woman belonging to a weaker section,” he said.
“What are we teaching our kids? After all, where is this country and world heading for?” he asked.
Gandhi said that the Constitution didn’t discriminate along the caste and religion basis and that there is a need to understand the fact that 37% dalits in the country are Below Poverty Line (BPL).”
He said 8% dalit children die before celebrating their first birthday.
“Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar had said we don’t need political democracy but social democracy. His thought was way ahead of his time,” the BJP leader said.
Rohit’s suicide had kicked up a huge uproar across the country, with many dalit organisations and opposition parties holding protests seeking ‘justice’ for the deceased.