HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday deftly handled the controversy surrounding the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula and ongoing row over alleged anti-national slogans raised in JNU campus, and countered the Opposition charge that she failed in performing her duty.
Irani, in her speech in Lok Sabha, mixing emotion and aggression, accused Opposition parties of playing petty politics over Vemula’s death.
Referring to the attack on her following the death of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University after her ministry wrote letters to the university authorities, Irani said “mujhe suli pe chadhaya jaa raha hai kyunki mere vibhaag ne patra likha (I am being hanged because my ministry wrote the letter)”.
Wednesday also saw fierce exchange of words between Irani and BSP supremo Mayawati in the Rajya Sabha. As soon the session began, Mayawati demanded to know whether a Dalit would be appointed to probe Vemula’s suicide and stuck to the same line throughout the day. A visibly agitated Irani said: “Mayawati ji, I request, you are a senior member and a woman, you want an answer, I am ready to reply. If you are not satisfied with my answer, I will cut my head and put it in your feet.”
JD(U) MP KC Tyagi in the Rajya Sabha also took aim at Irani by calling her “Manu Smriti Irani”. The comment was, however, expunged from the record despite “Manu” not being on the list of unparliamentary words, according to Tyagi.
“Anyone who acts on a letter like the one written by Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya with regard to Rohith Vemula is a subscriber to the caste system prescribed by Manu and can be, therefore, logically called Manu Smriti Irani.”
Irani claimed that Vemula was not taken to a doctor after he was found hanging inside his friend’s room. She alleged that Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao was “busy” to take her call post Vemula’s death.
“I made a call to KCR but I was told he is busy. I even called up his daughter, MP K Kavita,” Smriti said in the Lok Sabha, adding she did not receive a call back.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted a link to the speech Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani made in the Lok Sabha during the debate on the ongoing JNU row and the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula at the Hyderabad Central University.
“Do hear this speech by @smritiirani. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v3PlGs8…Satyamev Jayate,” Modi tweeted from his personal handle on Wednesday.