Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi join students' march in Delhi; attack Modi govt over JNU row, Vemula suicide

The AAP leader charged Central ministers with driving "Rohith Vemula to suicide."  

Last Updated: Feb 24, 2016, 00:40 AM IST
Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi join students' march in Delhi; attack Modi govt over JNU row, Vemula suicide
Pic courtesy: ANI

New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday joined a protest march organised at Jantar Mantar here by various students organisations to condemn the "institutional killing" of the 26-year-old dalit scholar from Hyderabad University.

While Kejriwal accused central ministers of driving 'Rohith Vemula to suicide', Gandhi demanded a law against discrimination of people from weaker sections in educational institutions across the country.  

Addressing the protest march, Kejriwal said, “They (students) have the right to speak. We have right to raise our voice against anything which is wrong. Everyone has the right to ask questions, and answers should be given.''

''In Rohith Vemula’s case, two Union ministers interfered in the case regularly. He was suspended after that. Rohith kept saying ‘I come from a poor family, Dalit family. If I am suspended, everything will be over'. A student (Rohith) who should’ve been appreciated by our country was forced to commit suicide,' he said.

Further hitting out at the Prime Minister, the Delhi CM said, “Modiji, don’t mess with students. If they get together, they’ll shake your chair in such a manner that you won’t forget. Same youth that made him PM are standing against him today. Government seems to be at war with students.''

Meanwhile, ANI reported that a man raised 'Aarakshan virodhi Kejriwal' slogan when Delhi CM was speaking at the protest march.

Kejriwal had earlier tweeted that he would go to Jantar Mantar to express solidarity with Rohith's family and to speak to the students.

As the march began, protesters carried placards and shouted slogans demanding a "Rohith Act" to end caste discrimination in education.

Vemula's family also took part in the "Chalo Dilli" protest.

The students took out a solidarity march here today to demand justice for Hyderabad University PhD scholar Rohith Vemula and JNU Students' Union President Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested on charges of sedition.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi also participated in the march and alleged that the RSS wants to suppress the voices of the youth whenever they talk about the future or the present state of affairs in the country.

"Rohith talked about the future of India, but the RSS doesn't support the same. The universities are being encroached upon and the country needs a law that doesn't stifle the students' voice," said Gandhi.

"Rohith's voice was muzzled. We need a law, which doesn't let students' voices in colleges and universities be stifled," he added.

"What happened to Rohith (Vemula) has not happened to him exclusively, many students across the educational institutes face discrimination. Our girls are suppressed, Dalits are discriminated against and tribals are repressed," Congress VP said. 

 

"If you really want to fight this oppression, we need an anti-discrimination law enacted in all colleges and universities that stops any kind of prejudice and bigotry against the weaker section. I had suggested them to look at it. We in Congress party are also mulling over it to get such a law enacted that stops the student oppression," he added. 

He claimed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was robbing students and thinkers of their freedom of expression and dissent.

"RSS and BJP want to impose one language one ideology on everyone throughout the country. They don't want other ideas and traditions to flourish but we don't want our India to be like this. We want crores of ideas, crores of ideologies, an India where creativity flourishes. Rohith symbolises creativity and all the youngsters with us will fight for this creativity. We will fight for it and win this battle," Gandhi said. 

Carrying tricolor, blue and red flags, students, activists and intellectuals marched for about a kilometre to Jantar Mantar. Students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, who are demanding the release of Kanhaiya Kumar, have also joined in.

Rohith, 26, was found hanging on January 17, days after he was banned from the hostel and other areas on campus.