Sambit Patra, the spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), recently said that Rohith Vemula, a Dalit scholar who committed suicide, is not a hero.
While addressing a gathering at a seminar in Chandigarh, Patra said:
“There was no need to make a hero out of Rohith Vemula. Suicide is even worse than killing someone. The one who kills his soul, the one who fails to fight for his cause, should never be made a hero. One has to fight but not give up or die.”
The 26-year-old student at the University of Hyderabad was found hanging in his friend’s room after alleged harassment by the administration.
After a few days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence on the death of Rohith Vemula, saying, “Mother India has lost one of her sons, can feel his family’s pain.”
Referring to the same, Patra said:
“Rohit Vemula had his own ideas and everyone has the right to fight for his own ideas in a democracy… Prime Minister Narendra Modi also mentioned him as the nation’s child.”
The BJP spokesperson added that youth needs to decide who should be a hero. He also criticised Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, for saying that Rohith was a hero.
“If you face any atrocity, fight against it, raise your voice but don’t kill yourself. You should fight for the problems or issues which bothered Rohith, such as the caste system… We should fight along with our Dalit brothers. We should continue our fight but not end ourselves,” he said.
Taking an indirect jibe Shashi Tharoor, Patra said, “Those who compare Kanhaiya Kumar (Jawaharlal Nehru University student’s union president) with Bhagat Singh would not know what nationalism is.”