A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came heavily on the opposition Congress for indulging in “an orchestrated campaign to instigate Dalits” over the suicide of Hyderabad-based research scholar Rohith Vemula, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has decided to come up with a counter-narrative on the ongoing episode. Besides, the right-wing students’ body has demanded that the government institute a “fair and unbiased probe without political interference” on different aspects of the suicide.
Chalking out a comprehensive strategy to counter the attacks from Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA), of which Vemula was a member, and the Left-backed students’ unions like All India Students’ Association (AISA), KYC, etc, the ABVP has launched a series of protests, demonstrations, rallies, debates and discussions at university campuses across the country. ABVP president of Hyderabad Central University N Susheel Kumar, who was at centre of this ‘Dalit vs anti-Dalit’ uproar and raised the red flag against the ASA’s alleged “anti-national activities” on campus has emerged at the forefront.
“The time has come for the country to know the truth behind Rohith Vemula’s suicide. First of all, it was not a ‘Dalit vs anti-Dalit’ issue; it was differences between ideologies and students’ unions. The Dalit issue has been used by the ASA and other unions and political parties to their advantage to attack right-wing ideology. There’s nothing wrong in having a debate or criticize ideologies, but a person’s death shouldn’t be used for ulterior motives,” he told Firstpost in an interview.
The ABVP has demanded a fair inquiry into Vemula’s suicide on the following points:
• What happened to Rohith Vemula’s mobile phone?
• What actually led to his suicide?
• Who scrapped those lines in the suicide note—“there’s some bad water in the organisation”
“Rohith’s mother wanted to know about his mobile, and in the suicide note he mentioned that some bad water has got into ASA. All this needs to be investigated. The most unfortunate part is that a large number of faculty members too are involved in such activities and support these students. When I was beaten up and was hospitalised, they stated it to be a fake one. If I’m found guilty at any stage, I’m ready to face any punishment. The real culprits should be punished,” remarked Susheel Kumar.
When asked whether anyone was responsible for Vemula’s death, Susheel quoted the father of the deceased. “I can’t blame anyone, but Vemula’s father has alleged that the four suspended students were behind his son’s death. We have video footage of it. As I closely knew Vemula, I can say that he was not the kind of person to commit suicide over any Dalit issue. He was such a strong person that he could have even entered debate with our PM Narendra Modi. In fact, at one point of time he appreciated PM’s initiatives on his Facebook posts,” he mentioned.
ABVP’s national general secretary, Vinay Bidre said, “There should be a forensic examination of Vemula’s suicide note. We’ll bring out the facts and go to people to make them aware about the truth. His death is a big loss to nation’s research world. There is foul play involved in the entire episode. ABVP never identifies its volunteers and students on the basis of caste. ASA under the garb of Babasaheb Ambedkar’s name is involved in anti-national activities and that’s why they offered Namaz-e-Janaza to Yakub Memon after he was hanged. They didn’t pay condolence to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. They displayed posters like Yakub tumhare khoon se inquilab aayega (Revolution will come through your sacrifice).”
Alleging Maoist connections in the campus, the ABVP is set to expose how the Left-backed students’ bodies have been trying to leverage the suicide of Vemula to their political advantage.
“Originally, Vemula was a Marxist follower and was with the SFI. But later he joined ASA and strongly criticised Leftists, including CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, in his Facebook posts. Why didn’t these groups raise a voice on several other suicides in the HCU campus or the suicide of three girl students? The ultra-Left AISA and others are using Vemula to target Modi government, RSS and ABVP. We’ll expose them,” added Bidre.