Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal joined a protest by students over the JNU sedition row and Hyderabad university scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide, saying the Narendra Modi-led government “seems to be at war with the students of the country”.
The Aam Aadmi Party leader charged central ministers with “driving Vemula to suicide”.
Vemula committed suicide on January 17, triggering widespread protests demanding action against central ministers Smriti Irani, Bandaru Dattatreya and others, blaming them for the suicide.
Five Dalit students, including Vemula, were suspended in September last year following a clash with a leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
On Tuesday, hundreds of students and faculty members of various universities took out a march from Ambedkar Bhawan to Jantar Mantar to condemn the “institutional killing” of student Vemula and JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest.
Watch | Student groups demand justice for Vemula
Kanhaiya was arrested in a sedition case on February 12 after an event held on the university campus against execution of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. He allegedly shouted anti-India slogans during the rally.
Mounting a fresh attack on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party at the rally, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi accused the Modi government and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of crushing voices of dissent of college and university students across the country. He pitched for a law to protect them from “discrimination” and “suppression”.
“We need a law to ensure that students in colleges and universities do not face discrimination and their voice is not stifled,” Gandhi said, lending his support to the students
Gandhi also slammed the government for not including issues like Vemula’s death and difficulties being faced by students of universities in President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to Parliament.
Accusing the Centre of muzzling the voice of students across universities in the country if they differed with the ideology of the RSS, Gandhi said the Congress will fight to bring a law to check such “suppression”.
With inputs from agencies