Five days after Rohith Vemula killed himself, Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally broke his silence on his death. It is unclear if had commented on the protests in Hyderabad Central University which show no signs of abating.
Delivering the convocation address at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University in Lucknow on Friday evening, Modi said: “Reasons and politics may have their own place but the fact remains that a mother has lost her child.
These remarks come after politicians cutting across parties have responded to Rohith Vemula’s death and the ongoing protests in HCU.
However, just when the Prime Minister began to speak, he was interrupted by slogans of “Narendra Modi murdabaad”. After a pause, however, he continued to address the officials present on the stage.
Here are the highlights of his speech:
· It was saddening to see that a youth of my country, Rohith, was driven to commit suicide
· Reasons and politics may have their own place but the fact remains that a mother has lost his child
· This government is dedicated to the poor - Dalits, oppressed and deprived and will attempt to do something for those who have to suffer in life. This government is committed to the welfare of the poor and how their lives can be changed and this government has been making constant efforts in this regard.
It is unclear whether the Prime Minister spoke about the ongoing protests at the Hyderabad Central University. Students say they do not care if the rustication of the students has been revoked, and are demanding that Vice Chancellor Appa Rao be removed from his post.
On Sunday, Rohith Vemula hanged himself from the ceiling fan in one of his friends’ hostel rooms in Hynderabad Central University. He had been expelled from the NRS Hostel on December 16 along with three other students.
Since then, they were sleeping in the open on the campus in a makeshift tent and were later joined by other protesting students as well. In the days since his death, the case has snowballed into a major controversy for the BJP-led government at the centre.
Media reports that the MHRD wrote five letters to the university over the alleged assault of ABVP activist Nandanam Susheel Kumar, only added to the pressure.
Other than Kejriwal, on Tuesday Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi spoke in support of the protestors and demanded strict punishment for union labor minister and the VC.