AHMEDABAD: Addressing a campaign rally here in Gujarat, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that Hyderabad Dalit student Rohith Vemula did not commit suicide but he was murdered by the government.
“Rohith Vemula took a brave step when he decided to join the university but his career was crushed after that letter from a minister. He was murdered by the Indian government,” the Congress leader, who began his two-day tour of Gujarat on Friday, said.
The 28-year-old, a second-year research scholar, was found hanging in his friend's hostel room last year.
His suicide had triggered a huge political furor with the then HRD minister Smriti Irani coming under attack along with labor minister Bandaru Dattatreya for having written a letter related to the matter.
The highlight of Rahul's tour is the visit to the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), a vocational training institute run by Dalit activists near the Sanand town.
He was expected to receive a giant national flag made by Dalits during his visit to the institute. The flag was originally presented to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani but his office had reportedly turned down, citing lack of space.
"During his visit, Rahulji will accept a giant national flag, measuring 125 feet in length and 83 feet in height, from Dalit students of the Kendra.
“He will also address locals and Dalits of surrounding areas at the center," Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.
DSK founder Martin Macwan said the giant flag was made as part of a movement to end untouchability in the country.