Rohith Vemula’s Death Not a Dalit vs Non-Dalit Issue: Smriti Irani

Smriti Irani, Union Minister of HRD addressed Rohith Vemula’s suicide in a press conference held on Wednesday.

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Smriti Irani, Union HRD Minister, addressed Rohith Vemula’s suicide in a press conference held on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy: ANI)

Smriti Irani, the Minister for Human Resource Development, addressed the suicide of PhD scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University, in a press conference held on Wednesday.

Vemula’s body was found hanging at his Central University hostel room on Sunday.

Irani dismissed the angle that this was a dalit vs non-dalit issue. Irani said, Susheel Kumar, the head of the executive council, the ABVP student involved in the scuffle with the students association and, the hostel warden were all dalits. She also added that Union Minister of Labour, Bandaru Dattatreya himself is a yadav.

We have ascertained that this is not a Dalit vs non-Dalit confrontation. There has been a malicious attempt to present this as a caste battle, it is not.

Smriti Irani, HRD Minister

With reference to Dattatreya’s letter to the ministry, she said that it was not the first concerned letter she had received. Earlier on 17 November, Congress leader Hanumantha Rao had also written a letter sharing the same concerns, she said.

His letter also mentioned the several suicides and rape cases in the Telangana region and ordered a probe into it, Irani told the media. Bound by standard procedure, Irani informed, the ministry had sent reminders to the university the same way it had responded to Dattatreya’s letter.

Also Read on The Quint: Rohith Vemula Suicide: HRD Min Says Sending Reminders is Procedure

Stop Blaming the Govt, University: Smriti Irani

Responding to allegations against the BJP, Irani said that the decision to suspend the students was taken by the university’s executive council body. She also said that the body consisted of nominees by the previous Congress government.

She emphasised that the decision even went to the courts and that the high court refused to put a stay on the punishment given to the students.

Irani read out certain sections of the letter to ascertain the fact that no political organisation or officials were named in the letter but for a reference to Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA).

Also Read on The Quint: The Goodbye Letter: Dalit Student Rohith Vemula’s Last Words

She also said that her information comes either from the police or university authorities and is not based on “rumours”.

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