Rahul, Kejriwal throw weight behind students
The simmering discontent of the student fraternity spilled onto the streets on Tuesday, as thousands of students from various universities across the country marched to Jantar Mantar in the national capital demanding justice for Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula and protesting the JNU crisis.
The students marched from Ambedkar Bhawan in central Delhi’s Jhandewalan to Jantar Mantar, the capital’s protest hotspot, where they were first joined by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and then by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The protesters, including hundreds of students from University of Hyderabad and Osmania University, raised Ambedkarite slogans such as “Jai Bhim” and demanded justice for Vemula, alleging that the Centre was responsible for his suicide.
Students from universities in the national capital, such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Jamia Milia and Ambedkar University, joined the march condemning the police action in JNU while demanding immediate release of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar. Vemula’s mother Radhika and brother Raja also participated in the march.
In his address, Kejriwal said the Centre was at “war” with the students of the country and asked the Prime minister to “mend his ways”. Otherwise, he said, students will “teach him a lesson”.
“If Modiji does not mend ways then very soon the youth and students will come together to teach him a lesson,” Kejriwal said, adding “I had said earlier, Modiji students se pange mat lena (don’t mess with students). Otherwise they will rock your government and you won’t have a clue,” he said, amid loud cheers.
In his address, Rahul launched a blistering attack on the Modi government and RSS, accusing them of crushing voices of dissent of college and university students across the country.
A major protest against the JNU row was organised in the city last week where a large number of students, academia, intellectuals and rights activists had participated.