Rohith's kin spurns solatium; fasting students' health worsens

Rohith's kin spurns solatium; fasting students' health worsens
Agitating students of Hyderabad Central University today termed as "insulting" Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks over suicide of dalit scholar Rohith Vemula even as the student's distraught family rejected the Rs eight lakh ex-gratia relief offered by the institution.

The students vowed to step up their stir and said the PM's "inaction" reflected his "political interests".

The students also rejected an appeal by Minister of state for HRD Upendra Kushwaha, who urged them to withdraw their agitation and assured them justice, a day after the Centre decided to set up a judicial commission to look into the sequence of events leading to suicide of Rohith.

Giving a push to the agitation, Rohith's family rejected the ex-gratia amount and also criticised the NDA government for "delay" in its response in condoling his death.

Rohit's mother Radhika, sister Neelima and brother Raju, who visited the restive campus, demanded that "those responsible for his death" be brought to book.

"Not Rs eight lakh, we don't want even if you give Rs eight crore from HCU, where he died," Neelima said.

Radhika said, "I want to know why he died. Those responsible should be punished...why he was suspended."

"Smriti Irani (Union HRD Minister)...she called up after five days. Why it took five days. You are also a woman...you are also a mother...it took five days (to call up the family and condole the death)," Neelima added.

Rohith's body was found hanging in a hostel room on HCU campus on January 17.

All the seven students, including a girl, who have been on a hunger strike on the issue, were today shifted from the hunger strike camp to the HCU's health centre after their health condition deteriorated, even as the agitating students tried to prevent the officials from taking them away.  

Voicing "dissatisfaction" over Modi's remarks at a university in Lucknow yesterday, the JAC asked if the Prime Minister would now take action against his ministers.

The Prime Minister had said, "When there is news that a youth of my country, Rohith, was compelled to commit suicide, what his family must have gone through. Mother India has lost a son. There will be reasons, there will be politics (surrounding it) but the fact remains that a mother has lost her son. I feel the pain very well," Modi had said.

Responding to Modi's speech,  JAC said, "It is highly insulting to have received a condolence statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has referred to Rohith Vemula as Bharat Mata's son. Joint Action Committee for Social Justice condemns in the strongest possible words, the appropriation of Rohith's politics."

"Rohith Vemula and the other socially boycotted stood always against the Hindutva and Manuvadi politics which the BJP ministers proudly stand for," it said.
Kushwaha, while addressing an event here, said the whole country was saddened by Rohith's death even as he appealed to the students to withdraw their agitation.

 Based on the report of the judicial commission, the HRD ministry would take necessary steps.

"From the ministry, a two-member fact-finding committee looked into the matter and gave its report. There were some shortcomings as per the report. Based on the report, a judicial commission was set up for further inquiry. The commission will do its work and give report in three months. Based on it, the ministry will take necessary steps," he said.

On the demands of the students for removal of the Vice Chancellor and withdrawal of cases against four of their colleagues, Kushwaha said, "University will look into that. There is no role of the ministry."

Irani had yesterday sought to reach out to the family by speaking to Rohith's mother over phone and assured her that justice would be done on the basis of a judicial inquiry.  

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