Kejriwal blames Centre for Rohith’s suicide

January 20, 2016 12:00 am | Updated September 23, 2016 01:42 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Students burn an effigy during a protest against the suicide of Rohith Vemula, at Jantar Mantar.photo: shiv kumar pushpakar

Students burn an effigy during a protest against the suicide of Rohith Vemula, at Jantar Mantar.photo: shiv kumar pushpakar

Blaming the Union government for the death of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide after being suspended from Hyderabad Central University, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should sack Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and apologise to the nation.

Terming the suicide a “murder of democracy, social justice and equality”, Mr. Kejriwal said the incident has shaken the “collective conscience” of the entire nation.

In an official statement, the Chief Minister said the “searing injustice” of depriving Rohit Vemula and four other research scholars of their monthly stipend, library facilities, and their eventual suspension from Hyderabad Central university pushed the 28-year-old to take the extreme step.

“The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is constitutionally bound to protect the fundamental guarantees of the Dalits, victims of historical discrimination and injustice. To this end the Prime Minister must ask this crucial question -- “What business do ministers have in interfering in the internal affairs of a university? How can a minister term young, bright students as anti-national, simply because they had an altercation with the ABVP? How can young Dalit students be socially ostracised and economically penalised by the University administration?” he asked.

Referring to Rohith’s alleged suicide note and letter to the varsity Vice-Chancellor, Mr Kejriwal asked, “Can there be a greater indictment of the institutions of higher learning in our country?”

Meanwhile, youth wings of various parties, including the AAP and the Congress, came out on the streets demanding resignation of Ms. Irani and Mr. Dattatreya.

While protesters from the Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India marched to the HRD ministry shouting slogans against the government, those from AAP's Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti staged a demonstration at Jantar Mantar.

They were joined by Left-backed All India Students Association and Students Federation of India. They also staged silent protests candle light vigils at Jantar Mantar.

The AAP also announced a nation-wide protest against the BJP on January 21.

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