Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar on Wednesday alleged the government used the sedition issue to divert people’s attention from Rohit Vemula’s suicide and subsequent developments.
Addressing a press conference after reaching Hyderabad, Kumar said the fight will continue until the government brings “Rohit Act” to curb atrocities on the lines of the Nirbhaya Act.
“The government smartly made the issue of JNU to keep Rohit Vemula’s issue under carpet. But we all know that even if we are different, we are one when it comes to saving justice in the nation. That’s why as soon as I came out jail, on behalf of JNUSU, I thought I would go to Hyderabad. My first visit outside Delhi would be Hyderabad,” he said.
He said Vemula’s mother is like Bhagat Singh’s mother in the present circumstances.
Kumar was scheduled to address a meeting on the University of Hyderabad campus on Wednesday evening at the invitation of the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, which had spearheaded an agitation earlier demanding “justice” for Dalit research scholar Vemula. Vemula committed suicide in a hostel room on January 17.
“We have experience with JAC for various struggles and we will take this fight forward... This struggle will continue until ‘Rohith Act’ is implemented... to fulfil his (Rohith) dreams of social justice on the campus,” he said.
Earlier, the university authorities categorically said they would not allow outsiders, including media and political party leaders, on the campus in view of the prevailing situation.
On Tuesday, vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile’s official residence was vandalised by students and police had to baton-charge another group during their protest against him resuming charge after a two-month leave in the wake of Vemula’s suicide.
The mother and brother of the Dalit research scholar had last month met political leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury and KC Tyagi, seeking their support for the enactment of a ‘Rohith Act’ against caste discrimination in educational institutions.