Mumbai students to hold protest to demand resignation from Smriti Irani

Amid a raging row over the suicide by a Dalit research scholar at Hyderabad Central University, city-based students associated with left wing organisations will hold a protest march against “atrocities” on Dalit community members here on February 1. These organisations have been demanding resignation of Union Ministers Smriti Irani, Bandaru Dattatreya and the Vice- Chancellor of Hyderabad Central University over the suicide by Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula.

Student groups from various colleges, including Tata Institute of Social Services (TISS), Tata Fundamental Research Institute (TFIR) and IIT-Bombay, have planned the march to protest “atrocities” on Dalits. They have gathered under the banner of ‘Justice for Rohith – Joint Action Committee’.

The march will be led by Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of social reformer Babasaheb Ambedkar. “Students of University of Hyderabad are fighting against casteist and fascist forces. This is not a fight between Dalits and non-Dalits, but between Vedic Hindu philosophy and anti-caste philosophy,” said Harshali Poddar, a student, at a press meet called to announce the agitation.

She demanded the arrest of those responsible for Rohith’s death, which she termed as a “political murder”. Meanwhile, Prakash Ambedkar, who was not present at the press conference held at his office, later said he is with student organisations and will lead the march.