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Cong-Left ‘politicising’ suicide: BJP

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on January 21, 2016

Seeking justice A student holds a banner and a photograph of Rohith Vemula, as he sits with others during a hunger strike to demand justice in Hyderabad, on Thursday PTI

Party spokespersons strain to bust the ‘myth’ that Rohith Vemula was a Dalit

The BJP believes that the student agitation following Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide is a “Congress-Left conspiracy” of the same nature as the Award Wapsi and Intolerance campaigns, to “malign” the Narendra Modi-led Central Government.

To expose the said “conspiracy”, the attempt of the party and the Government spokespersons is to combatively counter the “myths” with “facts”.

The biggest myth in the ongoing row, according to the BJP/Government spokespersons, is that Vemula, who committed suicide on January 18 following his prolonged expulsion from the hostel and the suspension of his monthly stipend by the University authorities, was Dalit.

Foremost among those asserting that “Vemula was not Dalit” is BJP General Secretary P Muralidhar Rao, formerly a member of the RSS’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and later of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch. Rao held a twitter conversation on Thursday where, answering a specific question, he said: “Police investigation has revealed that his (Vemula’s) parents belong to Vaddera caste, which comes under OBC in Andhra and Telangana.”

This was a counter to Vemula’s mother’s assertion that her husband, who left her when she was pregnant, was Vaddera and she was Mala, a caste recognised as SC in the state. The BJP General Secretary’s statement was also contrary to the “Community, Nativity and Date of Birth Certificate” issued to Vemula by the Government of Andhra Pradesh, which was tweeted by a journalist and re-tweeted by activists.

Kavita Krishnan of the CPI(ML)(Liberation), who was in Hyderabad in solidarity with the agitating students tweeted: “Rohith Vemula’s mother is Dalit, he was brought up in her environment, as a Dalit. (This is an) Important answer to hecklers.”

Muralidhar Rao then attacked the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA), a student body to which Vemula had been attached. “Even one programme of the ASA was not seen in support of national unity,” Rao said. He went on to corroborate Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya’s assertion that activities of the students were “anti-national”. “Linkages of these forums on campuses with bigger anti-national agencies must be probed, investigated and curbed,” said Rao.

‘Iron hand needed’

Referring to the ASA’s protests against the hanging of Bombay blasts convict Yakub Memon and the ban on beef-eating, Rao said: “Anti-national activities supporting violence should be dealt with iron hand. No scope for supporters of terrorism.”

Rao’s responses were in keeping with the line being repeated by BJP Secretary and Head of the Media Cell Shrikant Sharma who maintained that Vemula’s suicide is being “politicised” by the Congress and the Left.

“The Award Wapsi died out after the Bihar elections. Nothing has come out against the BJP after the storm over Dadri lynching and rationalists’ murders. The same political parties who were raising all these issues are silent on the violence in Malda in West Bengal, Purnea in Bihar and communal incidents in Uttar Pradesh,” said Sharma.

Published on January 21, 2016
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