New Delhi: Alleging "delay in justice" to Hyderabad University research scholar, 150 protesting students from varsities across Delhi who were detained earlier on Wednesday decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike at Parliament Street police station in New Delhi.
According to police, due to security concerns, around 150 students were detained from outside Shastri Bhawan and taken to Parliament Street police station.
"Every time we try to go to the Ministry and raise our demands with HRD Minister Smriti Irani, we are held back and detained by police. Protesting is a basic right. We can't be denied that at a time when the government is trying to cover up an 'institutional murder'," JNU Students Union vice president Shehla Rashid Shora said.
Members of Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS) and Left-backed All India Students Association (AISA) were among the protesters.
Sucheta De, national president, AISA said, "We will not budge from the premises of the Parliament Street police station now and sit on an indefinite hunger strike here till our demands are met."
"We are protesting the delay in justice to the student who had to end his life due to the harassment by the institution," she said and asked "who will be held accountable for similar such suicides in varsities across country which go unreported?"
The protests over the issue have been rocking the national capital since last week with three JNU students sitting on an indefinite hunger strike since Sunday.
Rohith Vemula, a 26-year-old Dalit PhD scholar, was found hanging at Hyderabad Central University's hostel room on 17 January.
He was among the five research scholars who were suspended by Hyderabad Central University (HCU) in August 2015 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 The suspension was revoked later.
Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Hyderabad University Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao Podile 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 suicide, and 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, students are demanding the removal of Irani and Dattatreya and the vice-chancellor.