‘Don’t play games with students’: Who said what on Rohith Vemula’s death

  • Agencies, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 19, 2016 15:31 IST
Police use water cannons to disperse students during a protest against the Ministry of Human Resource Development in New Delhi on Monday over the suicide of a PhD scholar Rohith Vemula at University of Hyderabad. (PTI)

Shouting slogans and holding placards, hundreds of students on Tuesday protested the death of a Dalit student who, along with four others, was barred from using some facilities at his university in Hyderabad. Here is what leaders across political parties said on Rohith Vemula’s death:

“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 aplogoize to the nation… (The) Modi government (is) constitutionally duty bound to uplift Dalits. Instead, Modi ji’s ministers got five Dalit students ostracised and suspended (sic),” Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.

“I request the BJP not to play dangerous political games with students,” Lalu Prasad Yadav said in a tweet, adding that BJP and RSS’ casteism agenda led to Rohith’s death.

“Met students of the Ambedkar Students Association, Hyderabad University. These students were protesting against the unjust expulsion and social boycott of Dalit students on campus,” Rahul Gandhi’s tweet after meeting students.

Gandhi also demanded that Hyderabad University VC should quit over the death of Dalit student.

Even Congress Party spokesperson Kumari Selja said that both Irani and Dattatreya should resign or else Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take action against the two by sacking them. She said that the HRD Minister has “misguided” the whole country as she had written a number of letters on the issue and that Dattatreya was “against dalit students in order to promote ABVP”.

“Don’t want to make political statement. My condolences to family of deceased. Government doesn’t intervene in the administration of universities. Two-member fact finding team will submit report on this,” Union HRD minister Smriti Irani said.

Read more: In pics: Students demand #JusticeforRohith, protest across cities

“Rahul Gandhi has acted negatively on everything. Only because of this attitude the Congress is suffering. We are trying to heal the wound and the Congress Party wants to gain political mileage out of it. This won’t happen,” minister of state for parliamentary affairs and minority affairs and senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

“Deeply saddened at the tragic death of Dalit student Rohit Vemula in Hyderabad. Government must ensure fair probe and action against those responsible,” Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said.

Read more: Dalit scholar suicide: Pressure mounts on Centre to sack Dattatreya

“Deeply disturbed to hear about suicide of Rohit Vemula. Circumstances which led to this must be independently investigated for his outspokenness honesty, frugality and love for the nation. My condolences to his friends and family,” Congress leader Ahmad Patel said.

“Leaders like Bandaru Dattatreya possess an old mindset and are a result of anti-Dalit attitude of the BJP. The intolerance of the ruling government was earlier visible against the liberals but now it seems they are trying to suppress the Dalits also,” Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit said.

“We have spoken to the students and they said it will be a nice gesture if you come and express solidarity with us”, TMC leader Derek O’Brien said.

“I have listened to their account regrading the incident. We will reach Hyderabad this evening”, he said, adding another member of the delegation is party MP Pratima Mondol.

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