Sustain Humanity


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

If he (Prime Minister) strongly feels about ‘dalit brothers’ then instead of asking people to shoot him, he must first remove Appa Rao Podile from the post of V-C of the university (UoH). — Radhika Vemula, ROHITH’S MOTHER

If he (Prime Minister) strongly feels about ‘dalit brothers’ then instead of asking people to shoot him, he must first remove Appa Rao Podile from the post of V-C of the university (UoH).
— Radhika Vemula, ROHITH’S MOTHER
Hundreds of supporters from across Telangana seeking justice for late dalit scholar Rohith Vemula participated in a maha dharna at Prakasham Hall in Nampally on Monday. Rohith committed suicide at the University of Hyderabad on January 17 this year after being suspended for his alleged involvement in a brawl between members of Ambedkar Students’ Association and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
Organised by the solidarity and struggle committee for justice for Rohith Vemula, the dharna drew a sea of conscientious
individuals including intellectuals, social activists, students, dalits and representatives of mass organisations, who were dressed in bandanas and t-shirts with ‘Justice for Rohith’ printed on them.
The maha gathering was shifted to the Nampally venue after the Telangana police denied organisers permission to hold the protest at Indira Park.
Amidst loud sloganeering, Rohith’s mother Radhika Vemula addressed the crowd and lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “If he strongly feels about ‘dalit brothers’ then instead of asking people to shoot him, he must first remove Appa Rao Podile from the post of vice-chancellor of the university (Univeristy of Hyderabad). Otherwise his words and love towards Ambedkar is not genuine,” said Radhika. Modi had in a recent meet taken up the dalit cause and slammed perpetrators of violence, saying, “If you want to attack, attack
me, not dalits. If you want to shoot, shoot me”.
Echoing Radhika Vemula’s views, civil rights activist Teesta Setalvad declared that if the BJP continues to neglect dalit issues, it will be thrown out of power in 2019 elections.
About 45 dalit supporters from Patapally, a village in Mahbubnagar district, among many others joined the maha
dharna. “When we were protesting against the local state functionaries, Rohith had visited us last year to lend his support. When we were put in jails, he even protested in front
of the police station seeking justice for us. Today, we came
to stand for him, seeking justice for him and his family,”
said Mariamma Pathapally, a supporter from the village.
Apart from high-pitched speeches, the maha dharna also had cultural events organised by the struggle committee for caste annihilation. While many questionedTelangana government’s
delay in arresting the accused named in the Rohith case, others demanded the government implement the report submitted by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.
“The TRS government, which has come to power because of the sacrifices of thousands of people is ruling against the interests of the people by being hand-in-glove with a pro-Hindutva party like BJP. By not arresting the VC and other culprits, CM K Chandrasekhar Rao is insulting the Assembly in which he promised to take action against the culprits,” said
Anand Teltumbde, a civil rights activist.