Malicious intent to present Rohith Vemula suicide as a caste battle: Smriti Irani

Vemula’s suicide snowballed into a political controversy with agitating students and political parties targeting vice chancellor Appa Rao, MoS Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya and Irani.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: January 21, 2016 8:07 am
Union HRD Minister, Smriti Irani addressing a press conference regarding suicide of young research scholar Rohith Vemula in the University of Hyderabad, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI Photo) Union HRD Minister, Smriti Irani addressing a press conference regarding suicide of young research scholar Rohith Vemula in the University of Hyderabad, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

Breaking her silence on the suicide of a young research scholar at Hyderabad University last Sunday, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said Wednesday that the incident was being misrepresented with “malicious intent” as a “caste battle”.

“I am compelled to come out today because there has been a malicious attempt to present this as a Dalit versus non-Dalit issue to ignite passions. The student (ABVP leader Nandanam Susheel Kumar) who was attacked was himself an OBC student,” she said at a press conference, flanked by Social Justice Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot and Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman.

Read: Hyderabad University mulls dilution of punishment, brief closure of institution

Dismissing allegations of influencing university authorities into suspending five research scholars, including Rohith Vemula who committed suicide, Irani pointed that the executive council of Hyderabad University which took the decision was made up of nominees of the previous government.

“I would also like to point out that the suicide note of the student does not mention any political organisation or MP except Ambedkar Student Association of which he was himself a member,” she said.

Vemula’s suicide snowballed into a political controversy with agitating students and political parties targeting vice chancellor Appa Rao, MoS Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya and Irani.

Watch video | Suspended Dalit Hyderabad Student Hangs Himself: What Transpired

Read: Hyderabad University VC denies pressure from HRD Ministry

Dattatreya had written to Irani in August last year, accusing the university of being a “mute spectator” after a group of Dalit students, including Vemula, clashed with ABVP leader Nandanam Susheel Kumar. The HRD Ministry had subsequently sent an email and four reminders to the institution to respond with comments/facts on the issues raised by Dattatreya so that a reply could be drafted by the government.

On being asked if her Ministry’s constant reminders were some form of tacit pressure on the university to act against the five students, Irani produced a letter written by Congress MP Hanumantha Rao on November 17, 2014, on suicides by students of marginalised background in Hyderabad University for which her officers had sent six reminders to the institution seeking comments.

“The standard operating procedure is the same for all. In fact in Mr Hanumantha Rao’s case, we sent one extra reminder in comparison to the letter written by Dattatreyaji,” she said.

“Congress wants to shoot on this issue which is expected but unfortunate… The Congress MP says that this problem persisted for four years. If they (Congress) had fixed the problem four years ago, perhaps Rohith’s life could have been saved,” she said.

She refrained from making any comments on Rao and whether he could have handled the situation better saying that the Ministry’s two-member fact finding committee which was sent to the university will return Wednesday night and file its report after which further details will be known in the case.

Asked if she would visit the university campus, she said, “I’m concerned that my presence there will be interpreted as interference.”

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First Published on: January 21, 2016 2:12 am
  1. S
    Selva
    Jan 20, 2016 at 11:34 am
    here comes a AAPtard crocodile shedding tears!! good training by your Stunt-master fraudster DupeGang-leader Chaar-so-bheez............. Again Modiji will come and you keep crying from the mayoral city of Delhi
    Reply
    1. R
      Raghuram
      Jan 20, 2016 at 2:42 pm
      You are 101% right madam these COMMUNIST and CORRUPT CONGRESS GOONS try to get mileage out of the DEATH issue it is shame to see that so called FAKE I party which looted this country more than 60 years and divded our country on the name of CASTE and Religion shame on ITALIAN MAFIA and COMMUNIST GOONS we will stand firm with TEAM BJP and MODI to counter this issue LONG LIVE ABVP
      Reply
      1. b
        bar.dancer.Smriti.IRANI
        Jan 21, 2016 at 12:06 am
        ARREST HER AND DATTATREYA FOR MANSLAUGHTER.
        Reply
        1. H
          Hindu
          Jan 20, 2016 at 5:51 pm
          GEORGE CRUZE IS A FILTHY BRAHMIN SCOUNDREL MISUSING CHRISTIAN RELIGION! WHIP HIM!
          Reply
          1. S
            Shocked
            Jan 20, 2016 at 12:27 pm
            ITALIANS and IRANIANS rule India! Amazing!
            Reply
            1. H
              Human
              Jan 20, 2016 at 2:00 pm
              brahmins vs Muslims. brahmins vs Dalits. brahmins vs Hindus. Brahmins vs Christians. brahmins vs Sikhs. brahmins vs Buddhists. brahmins vs humanity!! BRAHMINISM IS DOOMED! BRAHMINS ARE DOOMED!
              Reply
              1. M
                Mrs.Bhagwat
                Jan 20, 2016 at 5:16 pm
                Barba-Iranian! She was used by RSS Mohan Bhagwat! She is venting that her perversion!
                Reply
                1. H
                  Haradhan Mandal
                  Jan 20, 2016 at 11:37 am
                  This is CERTAINLY not Dalit VS Non-Dalit issue. Nobody has ever said so. You are now making it. It is Dalit VS BJP and ABVP issue as it clear from the involvement of people. Except the ABVP and BJP ministers - none from close to 1 Billion NON-dalit of India are involved here.
                  Reply
                  1. V
                    Vinutha Iyer
                    Jan 20, 2016 at 11:58 am
                    Look who's talking. A BAR DANCER TURNED ACTRESS TURNED RSS RECOMMENDED HRD MINISTER.
                    Reply
                    1. K
                      Kocy
                      Jan 20, 2016 at 12:25 pm
                      Kick all Brahmins out of India to save India.
                      Reply
                      1. J
                        Jikku
                        Jan 20, 2016 at 12:07 pm
                        Brahmins are self annihilating themselves just for their ego. In another 3 years, they are going to reverse migrate to Iran.
                        Reply
                        1. H
                          Himanshu
                          Jan 20, 2016 at 11:54 am
                          Now the damage control starts.
                          Reply
                          1. J
                            Jay
                            Jan 20, 2016 at 8:38 pm
                            The Congress Party and Communists should be held responsible for the death of Rohit. Obviously, this boy was attracted towards the negative campaign by the Congress Party, which was against hanging of Yakub Momon, who was among those responsible for the Mumbai blasts that killed 143 civilians. Any one who supports the kinds of Yakub Momon is certainly anti-national element. Rohit would have realised at the end, how he and his friends were used by these anti-national elements for their own ends. When you join the University, that too for Phd, you should be focusing on research, excel in your chosen fields. Nobody joins Phd in Science to do politics that too in support of anti-national elements. This should be the big lesson for my Dalit brothers, who might be spending time instigating emotions. Please focus on studies, become scientists or engineers or professors, your parents will be proud of you. If you support corrupt political parties and terror elements, your future will be in peril. For information, I am a Dalit myself.
                            Reply
                            1. H
                              Himanshu
                              Jan 20, 2016 at 12:01 pm
                              Why the FK was saffron allowed inside the campus? Brahmins have destro society and continue to do so.
                              Reply
                              1. N
                                Nitish
                                Jan 20, 2016 at 11:52 am
                                Yes. It is brahmins douches vs rest of humanity!
                                Reply
                                1. S
                                  Some
                                  Jan 20, 2016 at 9:00 pm
                                  We Brahmins are so so so proud to have our Bhabi BAR DANCER AS OUR HRD MINISTER.
                                  Reply
                                  1. B
                                    brahminism
                                    Jan 20, 2016 at 12:28 pm
                                    See, now Brahmins are identifying with Hinduism.
                                    Reply
                                    1. S
                                      Srividya Jayaraman
                                      Jan 20, 2016 at 7:10 pm
                                      In BJP.party majority are not Brahmins . Modi Rajnath Singh Iran I they are not Brahmins
                                      Reply
                                      1. S
                                        Srividya Jayaraman
                                        Jan 20, 2016 at 7:08 pm
                                        Unfortunately you may sialike it but Brahmins are accepted both US and UK but people like mullas and leftist are thown out of those countries. This is reality and the Americans are not that fools.
                                        Reply
                                        1. M
                                          MyTake
                                          Jan 20, 2016 at 6:58 pm
                                          If codemned such acts now and a message is sent trough the nation, there will be less such victims in future and India will get some real wise scholars instead of fake and second hand ones! No disrespect for the victim here but it is more important to learn some lesson from his death!
                                          Reply
                                          1. M
                                            MyTake
                                            Jan 20, 2016 at 6:47 pm
                                            Why not book them who are doing mischief by creating public disorder. Is that what politicians took the oath for? Why they need to interfere in educational insutions in day to day running of their businesses?
                                            Reply
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