Stepping up the offensive on Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide issue, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi arrived at the Hyderabad University campus on Saturday to participate in a candle march by students. Rahul is supposed to spend the night with the protesting students in the campus along with the family members of Rohith Vemula.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said Gandhi would participate in the candle march and also in the sit-in organized by the students on the Hyderabad University campus.
“Yes, he is participating in the candle march with the students and would participate in dharna till 6pm tomorrow evening,” Singh said.
Congress has been demanding the sacking of HRD minister Smriti Irani and Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya and also removal of vice chancellor Appa Rao in the wake of the suicide by the Dalit scholar.
This is Rahul’s second visit to Hyderabad since Vemula was found hanging in the varsity’s hostel room.
The Congress vice-president had visited the University on January 19 following the suicide by the Dalit scholar and met the agitating students and the family members of Vemula.
In a dramatic turn of events, Dr Vipin Srivastava who took charge as the interim Vice-Chancellor of Hyderabad Central University (HCU) amid protests over the alleged suicide by a Dalit scholar here gone on leave Friday afternoon.
“Dr Vipin Srivastava who took charge as the interim Vice-Chancellor of Hyderabad Central University has proceeded for leave from the afternoon of January 29 and the next senior most professor Dr M Pariasamy will perform the duties of the V-C till further orders,” a university official said.
The reasons behind his leave are not immediately clear, the official said.
Srivastava could not be contacted for comments.
He was appointed as the interim VC on January 24 after V-C Appa Rao Podile went on leave amid protest from the student community over the death of Rohith Vemula.
Meanwhile, AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi will visit the campus tomorrow. He is expected to offer his solidarity to the agitating students by participating in a mass hunger strike.
It will be the Congress leader’s second visit to the city since the death of the research scholar. Gandhi had last visited the campus on January 19.
About 2,000 students organised a candle light march tonight on the campus ahead of Vemula’s birthday tomorrow. They shouted slogans against Police and Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and demanded their resignations.
Vemula was found hanging inside a hostel room in the university on January 17.