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Students burn Smriti Irani’s effigy

Posted in S. Asia

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Published on January 22, 2016 with No Comments

Demand Rs 5 crore compensation

 Job for scholar’s kin

Attempt to make it a caste battle malicious, says

Smriti Irani

The Central government swung into damage control mode as the suicide of Dalit

student Rohith Vemula, research scholar at the University of Hyderabad (UoH),

became a raging political controversy. The government and in fact the BJP too

appeared anxious to divorce the death from any caste angle, a politically precarious

situation for the party.

Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Smriti Irani, whose

Ministry sent at least four reminders to the Vice-Chancellor of UoH on the clash

between five students of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) and the Akhil

Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) termed as “malicious” the attempt to “project it

as a caste battle.”

“This is not a Dalit versus non-Dalit issue as being projected by some to ignite

passion,” Ms. Irani told a press conference, while rejecting allegations that her

Ministry had put pressure on UoH to suspend Vemula.

“The document which is being circulated as Rohith Vemula’s suicide note does not

mention any name or MP or Minister,” she pointed out.

She said the warden of the hostel from where the students were suspended was also a

Dalit and the Council that upheld the suspension was also headed by a Dalit.

“A group of students allegedly attacked another student; we have ascertained that

this is not a Dalit vs non-Dalit confrontation,” she said.

Ms. Irani said she had only followed the official manual in responding to Union

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya’s letter to her asking for disciplinary action

against the Dalit students over campus violence. “The students challenged the order

of suspension from hostel. HC refused to put a stay on the order,” she explained.

“I have responded similarly to letters written by Congress leaders too. Congress

leader Hanumanth Rao had also written to me about incidents at UoH. The Congress

wants to exploit 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.”

Mr. Dattatreya too put out a clarification, saying that he had “only forwarded the

representation of a student body, and would have happily forwarded representations

of other student bodies as well.”

Smriti Irani is misleading the nation, says SC/ST

forum

In a media release, the SC/ST officers’ forum of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) has said its

members will lay down administrative positions to protest the comments by Union Human

Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani at a press meet. The officers said that contrary to

the Minister’s assertion that the council that upheld the suspension of the Dalit students from the

UoH was headed by a Dalit, there were no Dalit faculty members on the sub-committee of the

executive council.

“Incidentally, the Dean, students’ welfare, who happens to be a Dalit was notionally co-opted as

an ex-officio member of the committee,” they said.

The chairman of the sub-committee happened to be Vipin Srivastava who was also the senior-

most professor on the campus. The release said: “It is also unfortunate that the Minister is

misleading the nation by observing that hostel wardens havesuo motu powers to expel the

students.” The faculty and staff said: “It is just a coincidence that the chief warden happens to be

a Dalit and he only implemented the orders of the higher authorities.”

Despite Union Human Resource and Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani’s

attempt to defend the Centre over the suicide of a Dalit scholar, fierce protests

continued by the students at the Hyderabad University as they even took to burning

her effigy.

EarlierSmriti Irani had asserted that the suicide of Rohith Vemula was not a Dalit versus a

non-Dalit confrontation and said that attempts were being made to ‘ignite passion’ in the

case of the scholar’s suicide across communities.

The agitating students have also demanded that the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad

(ABVP) must leave the campus of the university immediately.

The students also chanted slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya

Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Meanwhile the ABVP leader Susheel Kumar came out with a weird defence, more in line with the

ideology that his parent body BJP follows.

ABVP leader Susheel Kumar has alleged that Rohith Vemula and his friends from ASA

(Ambedkar Students Association) had opposed the hanging of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict

Yakub Memon.

Susheel Kumar has been named in the FIR over the alleged suicide of the dalit student

of Hyderabad University.

Moreover, Susheel Kumar has claimed that ASA members including Rohith Vemula had

offered ‘namaz’ after Yakub Memon’s execution.

 

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