Two Dalit students who had disrupted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Lucknow, on Saturday accused him of discriminating against the community and shedding crocodile tears over the suicide by research scholar Rohith Vemula.
Ram Karan Nirmal and Amrendra Kumar Arya of the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU) in Lucknow had raised slogans against Modi at the university’s convocation function on Friday.
Speaking at a felicitation function organised by NGO Rihai Manch for “speaking out against the alleged atrocities on Dalits”, Nirmal and Arya claimed their protest was not a publicity stunt.
Both toppers, they were supposed to receive medals from the Prime Minister during the convocation but were evicted from the venue after their act.
“Dalits are the most ostracised community in the ongoing saffronisation of the country. It is not only Dalit students, but even teachers who are suffering under this government,” said Nirmal.
He also raised questions on the PM’s statement of being saddened by the death of Hyderabad research scholar Rohith Vemula, who had committed suicide last week. “Why did it take so long for the Prime Minister to comment on such an important issue?” said Nirmal.
Nirmal also accused the BBAU administration of forcibly evicting him and Arya from the university guest house after the incident.
Arya accused the Modi government of promoting saffronisation in college curricula. “Rohith’s death is a glaring example of discrimination of Dalits’ on college campuses. We want a high level enquiry in Rohith’s case and strict action against the accused,” Arya said.