Vol. XLIII No. 14 April 07, 2019
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DSMM & Other Dalit Groups Demand Justice for Rohith Vemula

THE Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch and other dalits organisation and individuals have given a call for candle light procession and other action programmes all over the country on January 24 protesting against the death of a Ph.D. scholar Rohith Vemula of Hyderabad Central University. They have demanded the immediate removal of the suspension on the remaining four students and allowing them to continue in their hostels as usual, immediate removal of Prof P Appa Rao as vice chancellor, resignation of the two union ministers and a comprehensive compensation to the deceased family. On January 23, a candle light protest will be organised with all other likeminded organisations at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on the same issues. Addressing a press meet in New Delhi on January 20, the leaders of these organisations have said that there is a failure on the part of the central government to act sternly and take action on those who are responsible for the death Rohith Vemula. The person responsible for the death, vice chancellor P Appa Rao, is still continuing in the post. As long as he continues in the post, the issue will not be resolved and the agitating students and the deceased/martyred will not get justice. Those responsible for the rustication of the students and the subsequent forced death of Rohith Vemula, ie, Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani will have to step down from their respective ministries on moral grounds, they said. Though there is an FIR filed, under pressure from the ongoing students agitation, there is every possibility of diluting it under the pretext of enquiry. The two-member team commissioned by the MHRD is a mere eyewash intervention as this doesn't have any constitutional authority. Intellectuals, mass organisations, civil society groups and students organisations have responded and are protesting/agitating across India on this issue. Except BJP, all political parties have extended their support to this agitation. The leaders also demanded an independent judicial enquiry into the whole episode and the setting-up of judicial commissions in all higher education institutions that will look into the issues of discrimination. Those who addressed the press meet included P S Krishnan (Retd IAS officer & former cabinet secretary to government of India), N Paul Divakar (general secretary, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights), Ashok Bharti (chairman, National Confederation of Dalit Organisations), Anand Rao (national convenor, All India Dalit Rights Federation) V Srinivasa Rao (member, Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch)