Taking different interesting angle on the ongoing fight over the death of a Dalit research scholar in Hyderabad University, the Aam Aadmi Party has said that the student needed to be “reformed”, and not pushed to the point of suicide.
“This could have been avoided, Rohith could have been reformed, but they chose to ignore his letter,” the party said, commenting on the death.
The death of Rohith Vemula, a PhD student who committed suicide at his hostel room in Hyderabad Central University, has created a stir among anti-discrimination activists in the country.
It is alleged that Vemula was pushed to take the drastic step after he was suspended along with four other students for allegedly beating a member of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad – the student union of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
The death has given ammunition to opposition parties to corner the BJP, which upholds a right of center worldview that many consider to be overly influenced by Brahmanic Hinduism, which in turn is blamed for creating and perpetuating discrimination based on birth or jati.
The Aam Aadmi Party, like the Congress Party, has been trying to take advantage of the atmosphere, and has launched a campaign on twitter under the hastag ‘DalitVirodhiModi’ (Modi, the anti-Dalit). Dalit, which means oppressed, is the word used to designate ethnic groups that were subjected to the most extreme forms of discrimination in the name of the Caste System.
On the other hand, many Hindu nationalists believe that Vemula was misguided as he participated in a protest against the expedited killing of Yakub Memon, who was convicted for providing logistical and funding support for carrying out the Bombay Blasts of 1993. In addition, Vemula was also active in the Ambedkar Students Union.
It was not clear from the context whether the AAP made the ‘needed to be reformed’ comment in this context. However, the remark has not gone down well with Dalit activists.
“So Rohith had the problem of endearing (sic) Ambedkarism. That’s why @AamAadmiParty is speaking about *$##*% ‘REFORM’?” asked Ambedkar’s Caravan.
Many others also commented on the remark.
Aam Aadmi Party derives a disproportionate level of support from backward sections, whether in economic terms or social terms.
This could have been avoided, Rohith could have been reformed, but they chose to ignore his letter. #DalitVirodhiModi
— Aam Aadmi Party- AAP (@AamAadmiParty) January 20, 2016