• Delhi Stands with Rohith Vemula

    Souradeep Roy

    On 23rd February, over 10,000 people marched in support of Rohith Vemula. Called “Chalo Dilli”, the march was organised by the Joint Action Committee for the Justice of Rohith Vemula, Hyderabad Central University (HCU). The organisers explained that the Committee consists of all student organisations except for the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The ABVP in the University of Hyderabad have been implicated in the events leading up to the dalit scholar’s suicide.

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    There were several demands, including the resignation of the Vice Chancellor Prof. Appa Rao Podile; the suspension of the ABVP President in HCU, Susheel Kumar; the implementation of the Rohith Act; employing at least one family member in the university; reimbursing the remaining fellowship amount to the family, and many others.

    The march got widespread support across various organisations. Yogendra Yadav, former member of the Aam Aadmi Party, and member of several committees of University Grants Commission (UGC), said, “For the first time blue and red flags have come together. This is momentous. They have all come together to face one common: the Hindu Right”. He also said that he had been a part of a committee set up by the UGC had recommended several steps to check discrimination on campus, but none of them have been implemented. “Why haven’t any of the Vice Chancellors implemented recommendations such as Equity in Higher education? Why is still there no anti-discrimination officer in any of the universities?”

    In a rousing speech, Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, said, “This government seems to be at war with the students.”

    D Raja, National Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), said, “The attack on Kanhaiya, the attack on Rohith, is an attack on Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and his legacy.” He added, “The RSS talks of Bharat Mata. Who is this Bharat Mata? Look at Rohith Vemula’s parents. They are the Mother India and Father India and we are all their children, and are proud to be the children of this Bharat Mata.”

    Kavita Krishnan, member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist), asked, “When there was a meeting of Vice Chancellors convened by the Ministry of Human Resources, why did they not discuss the Rohith Act?”

    The meeting was attended by other leaders such as Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Rahul Gandhi of the Indian National Congress, and others.

    Sambhaji Bhagat, the revolutionary balladeer and dalit activist, also came and sang at the gathering. Taking a jibe at Asaram Bapu, he said, “These babas keep saying, breathe in, breathe out. The entire country has been left punctured; where will we find so much of air?” Calling them the children of Manu, he said, “They had earlier destroyed Takshila and Nalanda, and are now killing the students of Hyderabad Central University. “

    Here is a small excerpt here:

    While this report was being written, we received news that the police have now detained those present at the candle light vigil for Rohith at India Gate.

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