Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that the “conditions” for Dalit student Rohith Vemula’s suicide were created by Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya, the Hyderabad university vice-chancellor and the institute and demanded “strictest” punishment for those responsible for his death.
Addressing students at the varsity after speaking to the protesters, Gandhi also that said failure to ensure justice for the research scholar will be an “insult to him, to every student and teacher in this institute”.
“This youngster who came here to learn, to develop, to change this country, was left with no option but to kill himself,” Gandhi said, adding that “failing to provide him justice will be failing to show him respect”.
Gandhi also targeted the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre saying that no amount of compensation, which is likely to be given to Rohith’s family, can match the fact that he was the “hope of his family, of his friends”.
“And to those who were responsible for his death, since you’ve removed him, give his family the future that he would have given them.” Gandhi added.
The Congress leader, who also met Rohith’s mother, exhorted the students to “carry forward this fight” to ensure the minimum rights to every citizen of this institute and the country.
“I come here not as a politician but as a citizen. And I’m going to make sure that we fight for him and make sure he gets justice,” Gandhi said.
Police have booked Dattaterya, the vice-chancellor of University of Hyderabad and two members of the right-wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) of abetment of suicide by the 26-year-old student, who was among five research scholars suspended by the university and also one of the accused in a case of assault on a student leader.
The five were allegedly suspended after Dattaterya wrote to HRD minister Smriti Irani describing the university as a “den of casteist, extremist and anti-national politics.”