Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi joined the hunger strike at the protest site in the University of Hyderabad with four others on Saturday morning. Former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma was also present.Earlier, late night on Friday, Rahul sat for two and half hours, along with the students of Hyderabad Central University (HCU) who were on a 18-hour-mass hunger strike. Gandhi who arrived at 12.10 am spoke to the agitating students and lit candles before Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s picture.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A member of joint action committee for social justice (University of Hyderabad) said Rahul Gandhi will be joining the hunger strike movement from 6am on Saturday.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 on Saturday.”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 Smrithi 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 Smrithi Irani and Bandaru Dattaretreya from the cabinet among others.About 2,000 students organised a candle light march on Friday night in the campus for Vemula’s birthday on Saturday.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. Meanwhile, in a dramatic turn of events, Dr Vipin Srivastava who took charge as the interim Vice-Chancellor of Hyderabad Central University (HCU) amid protests over the alleged suicide of Rohith Vemula has proceeded on leave. “Dr Vipin Srivastava who took charge as the interim Vice-Chancellor of Hyderabad Central University has proceeded for leave from the afternoon of January 29 and the next senior most professor Dr M Pariasamy will perform the duties of the V-C till further orders,” a university official said.The reasons behind his leave are not immediately clear, the official said.Srivastava could not be contacted for comments.He was appointed as the interim VC on January 24 after V-C Appa Rao Podile went on leave amid protest from the student community over the death of Rohith Vemula.