Panaji: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday invoked the suicide of Rohith Vemula while lamenting atrocities against Dalits and tribals, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also promised action against those responsible for the death of two Goan tribal youth in 2011, who were burnt to death following police action against a tribal congregation.
Kejriwal, who is on a three-day visit to Goa, was addressing a ‘Goa Dialogues’ meet, where he also discussed a range of issues related to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes populations in the coastal state.
“Tribal voices in Goa were suppressed; police action was taken. All this happens when a government is against the backward people. You can see this in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh,” Kejriwal said while addressing the meeting in Quepem village, 50 km south of Panaji.
“Rohith Vemula was forced to commit suicide. Those who did this, they will be punished, especially in the case where the two youths were killed.”
Kejriwal said if the AAP comes to power, funds meant for tribal welfare will not be diverted.
“Tribals will be asked where the funds will be used and they will be used as per their wish. Tribals will decide what is to be done with the money allotted to them in meetings just like this,” he said.
The AAP leader also said that his party was for reservations for Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Scheduled Castes (SC) communities as prescribed in the Constitution.
“It is necessary and it should be continued until the SC and ST atrocities do not stop. You have seen how Dalit atrocities are being committed in India. They are not being considered equals even today.”
“We stand by the provisions for the SCs and STs in the Constitution. We will continue to stand by it and will not tolerate any attempts to change it,” Kejriwal said.
In 2011, two tribal youths Manguesh Gaonkar and Dilip Velip were burnt alive at Balli village following police action during an agitation for the implementation of tribal rights organised by the United Tribal Association Alliance.
Rohith Vemula, a Ph.D. student at the University of Hyderabad, committed suicide in January 2016. Before his death, he complained of harassment by the university officials who were allegedly backed by union ministers. The suicide sparked protests against the Centre across the country.