Rallying behind protesting students on the Dalit scholar suicide issue, Rahul Gandhi today went on a day-long fast here at Hyderabad Central University, drawing sharp criticism from BJP which accused him of “politicising” a sensitive matter.
The Congress Vice President spent about two hours with agitating students and participated in a candle light vigil along with 2,000 students past midnight to mark the birthday of Rohith, who would have turned 27 today.
He returned to the protest site this morning and joined the students on fast, expressing solidarity with them.”Rahulji is on fast,” NSUI President Roji M John said.
Rahul, who is visiting the campus for the second time in as many weeks, tweeted, “I am here today at the request of Rohith’s friends and family, to stand with them in their fight for justice.
“A young life full of dreams and aspirations was cut short. We owe it to him, to the memory of (Mahatma) Gandhiji and to every single Indian student who dreams of an India free from prejudice and injustice,” he said in another tweet.
Rohith’s mother Radhika and brother Raju were also present at the protest site.
In Delhi, three Union Ministers accused Congress of shedding “crocodile tears” over the suicide issue and attacked Rahul for using students as a “political tool”.
Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said nine cases of Dalit student suicides had taken place in the campus during the UPA rule but Rahul never bothered to go there as he asked opposition parties to wait for the report of the judicial commission probe ordered by the Centre into the suicide.
“Congress is shedding crocodile tears simply to gain political mileage... This is part of their anti-Modi campaign across the country,” he told reporters.
Also attacking Rahul, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said,”Exams are nearing in Hyderabad (university). All the students are busy with studies. The government has (already) announced judicial probe into the matter. Peace has been restored there. (In such times), Rahul Gandhi ji is politicising the issue.”
Rural Development Minister Birender Singh also took a pot-shot at Rahul, saying the “the party which has been reduced to 44 MPs from 206 MPs in Lok Sabha is politicising every issue”.
“They are politicising every issue. There is nothing new in it,” Singh said.
Rahul, who arrived here at 12.10 AM, spoke to the agitating students and lit candles before Rohith’s picture.