Freedom crushed: Rahul
Protests escalated on Tuesday over the alleged suicide by a Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula. The agitation got a fillip by the unexpected visit of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who flew down from New Delhi to interact with the students of University of Hyderabad (UoH).
Hyderabad: Protests escalated on Tuesday over the alleged suicide by a Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula. The agitation got a fillip by the unexpected visit of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who flew down from New Delhi to interact with the students of University of Hyderabad (UoH).
Rahul Gandhi, who spent about two hours on the university campus, met the family members of Rohith and other students who were staging protest. Addressing the gathering, Rahul Gandhi said “the vice-chancellor and the Minister in Delhi have not acted fairly.
What is the result? The result is that the youth, who came here to improve the country, to learn and to express himself was put in so much pain that he had no option but to kill himself. Certainly, he has committed suicide but conditions for his suicide were created by the V-C, the Minister and the institution," he said.
The Congress vice-president alleged that the institution instead of operating fairly has used its power to ‘crush’ the freedom of students to express. "The idea of a university is knowledge. When you try and impose only one certain kind of idea on all students, you harm the passion that various students possess," he said. He did not come here as a politician and he does not intend to politicise the issue.
His main purpose was to assure them that the students have his full support. “My door is always open for Rohith's family and all other students protesting here, I shall help you in every way possible," he said.
Raising his voice, Rahul said there was no reason for the V-C to remain in the post.
“When a student of a university dies, whether it is suicide, illness, accident, in-charge of the university has to show bare minimum respect and courtesy to go and meet that person’s family. But the V-C did not show the decency and dignity to meet Rohith’s mother,” he said.
The AICC vice-president said compensation has to be paid to the Rohith’s family. “Compensation does not mean only financial support. It means a respectable job. This boy was going to build a future for his family but they took away this boy,” he said. Rahul called for a legislation to give certain freedom to students so that they could enjoy minimum rights to express their ideas.
Interestingly, Rahul Gandhi took all care to ensure that his visit does not get the party tag. Though TPCC president and other senior leaders accompanied him they were asked to remain at a distance and they were also told not to sport party ‘khanduva’.