Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi joined a candlelight vigil at the Hyderabad Central University campus late Friday night, held by students for the suicide of Dalit PhD student Rohith Vemula. Earlier on Friday, interim vice-chancellor Vipin Srivastava went on leave. Srivastava had taken over once the former vice-chancellor, Appa Rao Podile, went on indefinite leave after being named an accused in the case. NDTV reported that M Periasamy will now take over the post.
Students had alleged that Srivastava headed the committee that decided to expel Vemula and four others after they were accused of beating an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad member, and protested against the decision to make him interim vice-chancellor.
Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders have come down hard on the Bharatiya Janata Party government for not sacking Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya. Dattatreya was accused of writing to Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani about Vemula and his peers' alleged attack on an ABVP leader, and was also named in the FIR in the case. The opposition has also demanded that Irani be sacked after her saying that this was not a dalit issue triggered huge protests. The Centre has set up a one-man judicial commission to investigate the case.