Hyderabad: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday continued his protest along with the students who are on hunger strike at the University of Hyderabad, demanding justice for a Dalit research scholar who committed suicide.
Rahul, who participated in a candle light vigil after midnight and spent the night on the campus, remained seated along with the students at the protest venue near Shopping Complex to mark the birth anniversary of Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide two weeks ago.
He was seated with four Dalit students who were suspended along with Rohith and also the mother and brother of Rohith.
Dozens of other students are also on a day-long hunger strike to press the demand for the resignation of Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and action against him and others responsible for the suicide.
"I am here today at the request of RohithÂ’s friends and family, to stand with them in their fight for justice,Â” tweeted Rahul Gandhi, who visited the campus for the second time in less than a week.
Â“A young life full of dreams and aspirations was cut short,Â” he tweeted. While paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary, Gandhi commented Â‘we owe it to him, to the memory of Gandhiji and to every single Indian student who dreams of an India free from prejudice and injustice.Â”
Workers of the Youth Congress, National Students Union of India (NSUI), students from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Film and Television Institute of India and various universities also joined the mass hunger strike.
Police beefed up security on the campus in view of the call given by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) to protest RahulÂ’s visit. The student group has called for a shutdown of educational institutions across Telangana to protest what it calls the attempts of the Congress leader to play politics over the suicide.
About 50 ABVP workers were arrested shortly after midnight when they tried to stop RahulÂ’s convoy at the universityÂ’s main gate.
Rahul, who landed at Hyderabad airport around midnight, drove straight to the university and paid tributes to Rohith at the memorial constructed by the students.
Rahul had visited the campus on January 19, two days after Rohith committed suicide.
The MP had demanded action against the vice chancellor, central ministers and others responsible for the student's suicide.
Meanwhile, the BJP asked Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to "not politicise" the death of a Dalit research scholar who committed suicide two weeks ago and stop "playing politics on dead bodies".
As Rahul Gandhi joined protests with the students at the University of Hyderabad past Friday midnight, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sambit Patra said it is not a Dalit versus non-Dalit issue but a classic case of trying to score political brownie points.
"Rahul Gandhi should start working in a positive way rather than playing politics on dead bodies," he said.
Gandhi shuns his own responsibility and gatecrashes into other's protest, Patra said, adding the way he has shown insensitivity is the reason why "I say Rahul and responsibility cannot go together."
Patra further questioned Rahul Gandhi for not responding to the Malda incident and the incident in Haryana where Dalits was burnt alive.
"Did Rahul Gandhi shed tears for the four Dalits who were burnt alive? No, he has always been selective," he said. "Everyone knows what the condition in Malda is, has Rahul Gandhi ever visited Malda?".
Patra said Rahul Gandhi was enjoying New Year when the Pathankot terror attack happened and blamed the government after 10 days.
"When Pathankot attack was happening, Rahul Gandhi was in Europe enjoying his holiday. He came back after 10 days and blamed government," Patra said.