Hyderabad: It has been four years since the tragic death of Rohith Vemula, but the pangs of agony that the family has gone through and the manner the alleged suicide was used as a political weapon have not withered the fighting spirit of the mother, Radhika Vemula.
Her relentless fight for justice to her son has now taken a new shape and one that is certain to make everyone to take note of. Joined by two equally anguished mothers, those of Payal Tadvi and Najeeb Ahmed, both of whom are fighting to get justice for their children, they are set to launch ‘Mothers for the Nation’, a Yatra during which they will call upon people and those in corridors of power to ‘at least save the nation’, which is seething with rage because of inept administration that is wreaking havoc, all over.
Speaking during an event at Lamakaan commemorating Rohith’s fourth death anniversary on Friday, she spoke about the ongoing protests at JNU and Jamia, and those against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
“I have been struggling for the past four years. I still stitch clothes to survive. After watching all these student protests in JNU, my blood is boiling again. Let (Narendra) Modi and (Amit) Shah prove where they come from first. In any case, we should not tolerate this,” she said.
Quoting from Rohith’s suicide letter, she said, “Rohith wrote that a man was reduced to a vote, a number, a thing. This government is doing the same thing-reducing people to mere numbers. My child was not saved. We need to at least save this country now. People are disappearing under the BJP government, which wants to spread hatred. We need to fight against this.”
Radhika Vemula was apparently referring to the disappearance of the JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who had gone missing from the hostel under suspicious circumstances in October 2016. His mother, Fatima Nafees, has been fighting for justice ever since.
The mother of Payal Tadvi, the medical student who had committed suicide in May 2019, following caste discrimination from her seniors, is also joining the ‘Mother for the Nation’ Yatra.
The parents are to speak at the University of Hyderabad on the occasion of Rohith Shahadath Din.
Four years back, it was on this day (January 17) that Rohith Vemula, the research scholar from University of Hyderabad, committed suicide. His death was called an ‘institutional murder’ after university authorities had expelled him, along with five other Dalit students, citing an attack on an ABVP student.
Torn between the expulsion and the caste discrimination on campus, the double-JRF awardee had killed himself, sparking nationwide student protests.