Hyderabad: The demand for a ‘Rohith Act’ to tackle caste discrimination in educational institutions became stronger on Saturday with the scholar’s family lending their support.
Ms Radhika Vemula told students at UoH: “I separated from my husband when Rohith was one-and-a-half years old and raised him alone, earning by doing hard labour. I sent him to the university hoping that he would become a civil servant or an entrepreneur".
"I loaned him to the university hoping he would come back with a bright future but the university returned me his corpse. I do not want any other mother in the country to face this. It is time that the government enacts a Rohith law to fight caste discrimination on the campus.”
The demand was backed by his brother Raja Vemula. On Saturday, Vishal Kumar, a student the Hindi department, and P. Vijay, one of the scholars who were suspended, began on an indefinite hunger strike.
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who flew reached the UoH at 12.10 am on Saturday, spent time with protesting students till 6 pm. As soon as he reached the university, he listened as students various universities spoke on Rohith Vemula's suicide.
They included Ram Karan Nirmal and Amrendra Kumar Arya, who raised slogans in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, following which he spoke on Rohith’s suicide at the convocation ceremony of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University at Lucknow.
“We felt that if we do not raise our voice in a university where 50 per cent of the students are dalits, it would send a wrong message. Mr Modi came to the university keeping in mind the dalit vote bank for the UP elections,” they said.
Mr Gandhi left the venue at about 3.30 am and returned at 7 am. He sat with the students who were on a mass hunger strike until they broke their fast at 6 pm.
Rohith’s mother Radhika Vemula and brother Raja participated with the protesting students at midnight when they held a candlelight march. They left after an hour in view of Ms Vemula’s poor health but returned in the morning....