Rohith Vemula’s Suicide Unites Politicians, Students Against BJP

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Updated on 6 Sep, 2017 at 6:38 pm

The death of 26-year-old Dalit student Rohith Vemula, a PhD scholar at the University of Hyderabad, has led to nationwide protests with political parties, journalists, and students coming out in support of Vemula.

Rohith Vemula, a 26-year-old PhD scholar, was one among the 5 research scholars suspended by the Hyderabad Central University administration last year. All five of them were accused of assaulting an ABVP student leader.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called Rohith’s death as ‘murder’ and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apologise to the nation.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi visited the protesting students at University of Hyderabad and expressed solidarity.



Actress Gul Panag came out in support of protestors.

Vemula, who was active in student politics, had grown increasingly silent after the disciplinary action was initiated against him by the university. The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of various student groups said Rohith was highly depressed due to suspension and expulsion from the hostel.

On January 19, students gathered in the administrative block of the university and shouted slogans, seeking ‘justice’ for the dalit student.

Md. Salim, politburo member of the CPI(M), said:

“We have seen how Dalits are discriminated in villages, schools and other places. But the BJP and the RSS are trying to inflict this dangerous discrimination even in higher education institutes and encroach on the fundamental rights of students. It is time the PM must speak up and assure the Dalits. why is he still maintaining silence?”

It is alleged that Vemula’s death was due to extreme discrimination at the behest of Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya.


The labour minister wrote a letter to HRD Minister Smriti Irani, seeking action against’extremist and anti-national politics’.

After that, the HRD ministry wrote to the university registrar and Vice Chancellor to look into the matter.




On November 18, the labour minister, the university Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and two other BJP leaders were named in an FIR  for abetment of suicide and violation of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (prevention of atrocities) Act.



This lead to protests in Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. Protestors are demanding that Vice Chancellor and Labour minister should be sacked from their post.

In Pune, FTII students began one-day hunger strike in solidarity and in Mumbai, Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS)  and IIT-Bombay  joined the protests.



Police used water canon to disperse protesters who were protesting in front of HRD Ministry office at Shashtri Bhawan.

Students were detained during the protest in New Delhi.