Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver the Ambedkar memorial lecture on Monday. He will also lay the foundation stone for a memorial in the name of the Dalit icon at 26 Alipore Road, Ambedkar’s last resting place in Delhi.
The move comes in the backdrop of NDA government battling its anti-Dalit image after the death of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad University in January.
Sources at the social justice ministry said the PM may speak on the incident that caused an uproar in the country. The social justice ministry is organising the event.
This is the sixth memorial lecture to be held in memory of the founding father of the Indian constitution. It is also a part of the programmes organised to commemorate his 125th birth anniversary year.
An official at the ministry said it was social justice minister Thawaar Chand Gehlot’s idea to invite the Prime Minister for the lecture. In the backdrop of the Hyderabad incident, it would help if Modi delivered the lecture as it would assuage the feelings of the community, the minster said.
A week after Vemula’s suicide on January 17, the Prime Minister spoke briefly on the suicide of Vemula saying he felt the family’s pain. Vemula hanged himself to death 15 days after he was expelled from his hostel along with four other researchers.
Opposition parties had alleged that Union ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani had driven the scholar to suicide.