Hyderabad: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi began a day-long hunger strike alongside agitating students from Hyderabad University this morning.
"I am here today at the request of Rohith's friends and family, to stand with them in their fight for justice," Gandhi said. "A young life full of dreams and aspirations was cut short. We owe it to him, to the memory of Gandhiji, to every single Indian student who dreams of an India free from prejudice and injustice." Vemula's mother, Radhika, joined Gandhi and the other protesters in Hyderabad.
Gandhi, who arrived at 12.10 am, also participated in a candle light march by 2000 students to mark Vemula's birthday.
As students raised slogans against HRD minister Smrithi Irani and Union labour minister Bandarau Dattatre, Rahul requested they not shout 'murdabad', which means "death to".
"Let us not say murdabad to somebody. That will not do justice," he said.
This is the second time in less than two weeks that the Congress leader is visiting the campus to meet and address the students.
Agitating students are demanding action against Vice-Chancellor P Appa Rao and others responsible for Vemula's suicide.
As soon as the Congress MP's convoy reached the main gate of the university, activists of ABVP tried to stop him. They were protesting his visit to the campus. Police had to use mild force to disperse the protesters.
Gandhi had visited the campus on 19 January, two days after Vemula committed suicide.