Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi joined the agitating students at the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) Tuesday afternoon strongly flaying the university administration and even the Central government. After speaking with the mother of deceased Dalit scholar V Rohith, Gandhi also met the protesting students at the campus and held a brief address strongly demanding the dismissal of the Vice Chancellor of Hyderabad Central University.
“The Vice Chancellor, the Union ministers in Delhi have not acted fairly. This youngster was put in so much pain that he had no option but to kill himself,” Rahul Gandhi said even as hundreds of restive students heard him raising the issue of past incidents of alleged discrimination against the Dalit students and scholars.
“He came in this university to improve this country, to learn and to express himself,” he said adding, “these students were protesting against the unjust expulsion and social boycott of Dalit students on campus”.
“The idea of a University is that young people can come and share their thoughts… but when you impose ideas on youngsters, and want only those ideas, then tragedies take place,” the Congress vice president asserted.
The issue has assumed serious political proportions with the allegations that Rohith was compelled to take the extreme step after series of discrimination against Dalit students at the behest of senior BJP leader and Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya.
There are reports that Dattatrya had even written a letter to HRD Minister Smriti Irani, seeking action against what he allegedly termed the “anti-national acts” of some student outfit.
Upping its ante, the principal opposition party has strongly demanded the sacking of Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya. The latter has been named in the FIR lodged by Telangana police after the suicide of 26-year-old Dalit Ph. D scholar on Sunday.
“There is much more than what meets the eye. The Prime Minister must speak out on the matter and take action against the ministers,” Congress leader Kumari Selja said on Tuesday morning.
She also alleged that the HRD Minister has “misguided” the whole country as she had written a number of letters on the issue and that Dattatreya was “against dalit students in order to promote ABVP”.
“The Prime Minister should break his silence. This is not the first time that BJP ministers have worked against the interest of the Dalits. There are several others who have spoken ill of the Dalits. And hence, the entire BJP, the Prime Minister are in the docks,” Selja added.
Earlier on Monday, Congress party accused BJP of having an “anti-Dalit agenda and mindset” and said the death of the scholar was “deliberately orchestrated by Dattatreya, Union HRD Ministry and their cohorts of ABVP”.
“Now an FIR has been registered against the Union Minister and the letter written by him prima facie amounts to abetment of suicide, Congress demands that Dattatreya resigns with immediate effect, failing which the Prime Minister should sack him”, party spokesman RPN Singh had said on Monday at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi.