Hyderabad, Jan 30: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday sat for two and half hours in the wee hours along with the students of Hyderabad Central University (HCU) who were on a 18-hour-mass hunger strike.
Gandhi who arrived here at 12.10 am spoke to the agitating students and lit candles before Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula's picture.
A member of joint action committee for social justice (University of Hyderabad) said Rahul Gandhi will be joining the hunger strike movement from 6am today. National Students Union of India (NHUI) National president Roji M John said, Rahul Gandhi will sit in the hunger strike from 6 am to 6pm today.
"Students called for mass hunger strike. Rahul will also sit in the dharna. This hunger strike will be held in all universities of the country," John told reporters.
As the students raised slogans against HRD minister Smriti Irani and Union Labour Minister Bandarau Dattatre, Rahul intervened and politely told them not to shout 'murdabad'. "Let us not say murdabad to somebody. That will not do justice," he said.
Three of the students including two research scholars who were earlier suspended, sat on fast unto death demanding the fulfilment of their demands such as sacking and arresting of V-C Appa Rao Podile and dropping of Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattaretreya from the cabinet among others.
About 2,000 students organised a candle light march tonight in the campus on Vemula's birthday today. This is Rahul's second visit to Hyderabad since Vemula was found hanging in the varsity's hostel room.
The Congress vice-president had visited the University on January 19 following the suicide by the Dalit scholar and met the agitating students and the family members of Vemula.