Mother India lost a dear son, says Modi as students protest

I can feel the agony of Rohith Vemula’s mother, the Prime Minister says; greeted with slogans by students who asked him to "go back".

January 22, 2016 04:36 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 03:10 am IST - Lucknow

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays homage to B.R.Ambedkar at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, in Lucknow on Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays homage to B.R.Ambedkar at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, in Lucknow on Friday.

Breaking his silence on the suicide of Rohith Vemula, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said he could feel the agony of the Dalit scholar’s family. Meanwhile, his speech at the 6th convocation of the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University here, was greeted with negative slogans by students who asked him to “go back.”

“I am proud that India is a nation of the youth, its dreams and resolve are young. But at the same time we get the news that a young son of this country, Rohith, was compelled to commit suicide,” Mr. Modi said. After a long pause, a visibly emotional PM continued: “What must have his family gone through. Mother India lost a dear son. Reasons and politics aside, the truth is that a mother has lost a son. I can very well feel the agony.”

Just as the PM took the dais, a few students raised anti-Modi slogans. They were removed by security personnel and detained.

> Editorial: Death of a Dalit scholar

Mr. Modi on Friday eulogised Dr. Ambedkar’s struggle and penchant for education, repeating the Dalit icon’s mantra of ‘educate, agitate, organise.’

Mr. Modi told the students that Dr. Ambedkar’s life was marked by difficulties, insults and neglect but he didn’t waste time in complaining.

Mr. Modi also paid tributes to Babasaheb on the premises of the Babasaheb Ambedkar Mahasabha.

> Read: The clarity of a suicide note

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