Rohith Vemula Suicide: HRD Min Says Sending Reminders is Procedure

The HRD ministry defended sending multiple letters to Hyderabad University, terming it ‘standard procedure’. 

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(Photo: Rohith Vemula/Facebook; Smriti Irani/PTI)

Accepting that they had sent five letters to the Hyderabad Central University over the issue of action against Dalit students, the Union Ministry for Human Resource Development has said that their repeated reminders were standard procedure for “VIP references”.

The HRD ministry had written letters asking what action was taken on Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya’s complaint of “anti-national activities” on campus and the “violent attack” on an ABVP leader.

Read: Emotions Run High Over Dalit Student’s Suicide at Hyderabad Univ

HRD officials however claimed that after Dattatreya, an MP from Secunderabad, wrote the letter on August 17 last year, the Ministry only followed the standard practice by writing to the University on September 3, seeking that the “issues raised by the MoS may be examined and facts intimated.”

It would be wrong to say that the Ministry has put any pressure on the Hyderabad University. The Ministry had only followed the procedure as per the Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedure.

Ghanshyam Goel, HRD Ministry spokesperson

After its first letter, the ministry sent four reminders on – September 24, October 6, October 20 and November 19 last year, to the University seeking facts expeditiously so that it could respond to Dattatreya.

HRD officials said the University finally provided a reply only on 7 January this year.

According to the procedure, if there is a VIP reference, it has to be acknowledged in 15 days and another 15 days may be taken to reply to it. Since no response was coming from the University, the Ministry had to send reminders.

Ghanshyam Goel, HRD Ministry spokesperson

An official said not only are the ministries supposed to reply in a time-bound manner to VIP references, but even in Cabinet meetings, the number of pending references, grievances, assurances etc has to be shared, which makes it important that these issues are pursued.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani, who today visited Assam and accompanied Prime Minister Narendra Modi to IIIT Guwahati, had yesterday said the government neither intervened in the functioning of the university nor does it have administrative control over it.

Also read:
The Goodbye Letter: Dalit Student Rohith Vemula’s Last Words
Rohith Vemula’s Suicide: Protests, Political Attacks Intensify

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