Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sambit Patra on Wednesday said there was “no need to make a hero out of Rohith Vemula”, the Dalit research scholar who committed suicide after being ‘punished’ by the University of Hyderabad administration, because he had decided to kill himself.
“Suicide is even worse than murdering another. The one who kills his soul, the one who fails to fight for his cause, should never be made a hero. One has to fight, not give up or die,” said Patra during a seminar held at Law Bhawan in Sector 37, Chandigarh.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘National Security Threats in India-2020’, organised by the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena Foundation and Citizen-4-Forces, Patra said: “Rohit Vemula had his own ideas and everyone has the right to fight for his own ideas in a democracy... Prime Minister Narendra Modi also referred to him as the nation’s child.”
The BJP spokesperson told the gathering that they need to decide who should be their hero. “We don’t need to make Rohith Vemula a hero. If you face any atrocity, fight against it, raise your voice but don’t kill yourself. Many leaders in the country, including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, say Rohith was a hero. You should fight for the problems or issues that bothered Rohith, such as the caste system... We should fight along with our Dalit brothers. We should continue our fight, not kill ourselves.”
“Be it any government, caste issues have always been there. But that does not mean that we should end our life or give up fighting,” Patra, the most visible face of the BJP on television, said.
Referring to a recent comment made by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, he said: “Those who compare Kanhaiya Kumar (Jawaharlal Nehru University student’s union president) with Bhagat Singh do not know what nationalism is.”
Patra also took a dig at Congress president Sonia Gandhi, stating that her party’s nationalism could be seen in the way she became “disturbed” after seeing the bodies of terrorists killed in the Batla House encounter.
The BJP spokesperson had a unique perspective on battling terrorism. “India is globally known for spiritualism, we have to fight internal security threats with spiritual powers,” he said.
While Punjab finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa was the chief guest, Major General (retd) GD Bakshi and Colonel (retd) RSN Singh — former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing — were other key speakers at the event. BJP leaders Dinesh Kumar and Vineet Joshi; Aditya Shankar, a Supreme Court lawyer; and Rajat Gautam, chairman of the Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh Bar Council, were also present on the occasion.
Bakshi, in his address, challenged Pakistan to “not even dare eye Kashmir”. He said Pakistan had launched “an assault on young minds, hearts and psychology”.
Joshi said the country’s internal security had come under threat “due to the vanishing moral values among the youth”. “Uncultured and anti-national youths are a serious threat to internal security. Lack of ideal parenting is adding to this,” he contended.