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Rohith Vemula suicide: JNU students begin indefinite hunger strike

Three students of the varsity - Suchishree, Lenin Kumar and Shubhanshu - have decided to sit on the fast to express solidarity with students who were on an indefinite hunger strike at Hyderabad University.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Updated: February 1, 2016 2:09 pm
Rohith Vemula, Hyderabad University, Narendra Modi, Modi rohith vemula, Modi Dalit student, Smriti Irani Dalit student, P Chidambaram, sunday opinion, express opinion Artists from Moradabad pay tributes to Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide at the Hyderabad Central University, on Friday. (PTI Photo)

A group of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Sunday launched an indefinite hunger strike in the capital demanding justice for Rohith Vemula, amid growing outrage over the alleged suicide by the Dalit research scholar at Hyderabad Central University.

Three students of the varsity – Suchishree, Lenin Kumar and Shubhanshu – have decided to sit on the fast to express solidarity with students who were on an indefinite hunger strike at Hyderabad University.

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Seven students were forcibly hospitalised on Saturday on the fourth day of the stir at the Hyderbad University. A group of another seven students on Sunday sat on an indefinite hunger strike. Other students from JNU will join the trio for a relay hunger strike over the issue, said Lenin Kumar, former president of JNU’s students union.

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“The environment in which Rohith was forced to kill himself is faced by millions of Dalit students who manage to reach higher education with great difficulty in our country. His suicide note will remain a powerful testimony to how our higher education system has institutionalized discrimination and hardships for Dalits,” he said.

Suchishree, who has also written an open letter to the government, said, “The only political motive that I have as a political individual is that no more institutional murders should take place in this country. This indefinite hunger strike, I do not see as an appeal to the state, but as a mean to regain from the state the basic human dignity that is rightfully ours.”

Various student groups have been protesting over the issue in the national capital since last week. 26-year-old Rohith Vemula, a Dalit PhD scholar, was found hanging at the Central University’s hostel room on January 17.

He was among the five research scholars who were suspended by Hyderabad Central University (HCU) in August last year and also one of the accused in the case of assault on an ABVP student leader. They were also kept out of the hostel. The suspension was revoked later.

Watch video: Delhi Police’s brutality on protesting students outside RSS head quarters

Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor were named in an FIR over the death of the scholar, which triggered massive protests and demands for their removal from their posts.

The issue also took a political turn with allegations that the extreme action was a result of discrimination against Dalit students after Dattatreya had written a letter to Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani seeking action against their “anti-national acts”.

In a bid to defuse the raging controversy, the Centre had last week decided to set up a judicial commission to go into the dalit student’s suicide in Hyderabad University, which announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs.8 lakh to his family but protests continued.

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence and expressed grief over the death of Vemula, the students are demanding the removal of Union Ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya and the Vice Chancellor.

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  1. I
    indian
    Jan 24, 2016 at 3:34 pm
    A permanent hunger strike by JNU is an excellent idea. In fact, fast unto death.
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    1. F
      FekuSarkar
      Jan 24, 2016 at 7:23 pm
      Should have removed the fake degree holder Meaty Irani furst!!!
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      1. I
        IndianWellWisher
        Jan 24, 2016 at 8:47 pm
        Lenin Kumar, I rest my case.
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        1. J
          Jay
          Jan 24, 2016 at 1:21 pm
          The corrupt media suppressing the fact that these students are Left leaning group. And the le of the news is again misleading as though all JNU students are on hunger strike, while only three students are on strike. Moreover, it is a well known fact that JNU is a den for Left wing Communist domination.
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          1. S
            Srividya Jayaraman
            Jan 24, 2016 at 3:24 pm
            Who is denying higher education . It is the rich dalit who are misusing the quota. Let them go and fight with their rich dalit. All upper cl Brahmins goes to private university and many of them moved out of this country.Even in jobs and qualifying very well they goes to work in Private sector job. No body is doing anything it is their own community rich dalit is stopping the poor dalit from growing. Will they have guys to go and figjt with their own community?
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