Rohith Vemula had organised meeting for Yakub Memon: VK Singh

  • HT Correspondent, PTI, Agra
  • Updated: Mar 05, 2016 21:19 IST
Minister of state for external affairs General VK Singh at Parliament during the Budget Session in New Delhi. (Sanjeev Verma/ HT Photo )

Union minister VK Singh targeted JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on Saturday for calling Rohith Vemula his inspiration, alleging that the Dalit scholar had organised a meeting in support of Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon.

“I read in newspapers today that a JNU student leader says that he does not draw inspiration from Afzal Guru but Rohith Vemula. I told myself that Rohith Vemula too had organised a meeting for Yakub Memon.

“Are we with those people who encourage terrorism and who abuse India?” he told a convention of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of BJP.

At a time when BJP has been trying to play down the row over the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad university, Singh’s remarks could fuel the controversy further as the minister questioned his “support” for Memon, who was hanged last year for his role in Mumbai blasts.

Read | Want freedom in India, not from India: Top quotes from Kanhaiya’s speech

Rohith Vemula's mother Radhika and brother during a protest march against Union minister Smriti Irani at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday over the death of the Dalit scholar in Hyderabad Central University. (Arun Sharma/HT Photo)

Kumar, out on bail in a sedition case, had said on Friday he considers Rohith Vemula an inspiration and not Afzal Guru. Delhi Police had arrested Kanhaiya Kumar and others from JNU for allegedly raising anti-India slogans during the an event marking the death anniversary of Guru, who was convicted for his involvement in the 2001 Parliament attack.

Singh called upon the youth workers to spread nationalism and tell people how to take the country ahead when “fissiparous forces” are at work.

Read | PM Modi’s silence on JNU, Jat stir, Rohith Vemula issues may fire up Opposition

The minister of state for external affairs also spoke at length about the Modi government’s foreign policy and said the government had succeeded in strengthening its relations with many countries, including neighbours like Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar.

Every country wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit it due to his popularity, he said.

Read | ‘End of Modi govt’ is Kanhaiya’s aim: Should BJP worry about JNU leader?

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