Why is Modi silent on HCU Dalit suicide, questions Owaisi
The suicide by a dalit student of Hyderabad University on Tuesday snowballed into a major issue with BJP\'s rivals wading into it and demanding the removal of Union Ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya, accusing them of being responsible for the death.
New Delhi/Hyderabad: The suicide by a dalit student of Hyderabad University on Tuesday snowballed into a major issue with BJP's rivals wading into it and demanding the removal of Union Ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya, accusing them of being responsible for the death.
As Congress mounted the demand for the sacking of the HRD and Labour Ministers, Rahul Gandhi led the multi-party charge attacking them and the Vice Chancellor Appa Rao saying, "The VC and the Union Ministers in Delhi have not acted fairly. This youngster was put in so much pain that he had no option but to kill himself."
Though he did not name Irani, who had just over the week attacked Rahul in his constituency Amethi of failing youths there, the reference was obvious to her against the backdrop of ministry's action which is blamed for the suicide by Rohith Vemula, a dalit research scholar, on Sunday night.
Protests escalated in Hyderabad and cities across the country including in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. Student organisations including the pro-Left AISA and AAP-backed CYSS and Congress' NSUI held protests in Jantar Mantar and the HRD ministry in the capital demanding the sacking of the ministers and strong action against the VC.
Various political parties and leaders have blamed Labour Minister Dattatreya's letter of Aug 17 last year to Irani seeking action against the "anti national activities" of a students union and the alleged assault of an ABVP leader and a series of five communications from the HRD Ministry between Sept 3 and Nov 19 demanding follow up action for the suicide.
The HRD ministry, however, rejected allegations that it had put any pressure on the University relating to either suspension of Rohith or keeping him out of the hostel.
The communications, it maintained, was not aimed at putting pressure but was in compliance with the standard protocol adopted in accordance with the Central Secretariat Manual of Procedure whenever a "VIP Reference" is received. Ministry officials said the two-member committee of HRD officials have met people concerned in Hyderabad today and their fact-finding report is expected to be ready after their return tomorrow.
After the high-profile visit of Rahul to the campus, Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi also went there and asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not saying sorry over the incident. "It does not need even 140 characters," he said in an apparent reference to the Prime Minister's penchant for tweeting on issues.
He alleged that there has been social discrimination that had led to the suicide. Gandhi flew into Hyderabad from Delhi in the morning and drove straight from the airport to the University campus where he addressed the agitating students.
He alleged that the institution instead of operating fairly has used its power to "crush" the freedom of students to express. "The Vice Chancellor and the Minister in Delhi have have not acted fairly. What is the result. The result is that the youth, who came here to improve the country, to learn and to express himself was put in so much pain that he had no option but to kill himself.
"Certainly he has committed suicide but conditions for his suicide were created by the Vice Chancellor, the minister and the institution," he told the students, one of whom said before his speech that they did not want any politicising of the issue. He demanded "strictest punishment" for Vice-Chancellor and the minister holding them "responsible" for the death of the research scholar.
After meeting the students, Gandhi upped the ante against Irani and Dattatreya and the Vice Chancellor, by observing in a tweet: The VC and Union Ministers in Delhi have not acted fairly. This youngster was put in so much pain that he had no option but to kill himself."
Union Labour Minister Dattatreya and Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor Appa Rao and three others were yesterday named in an FIR lodged with the Cyberabad police over the alleged suicide of the dalit student. The Congress Vice President said there is "no question of the Vice Chancellor remaining" on merit and criticised him severely for not even meeting the mother of the deceased.
"There are certain people responsible for it. Vice Chancellor is among them. The minister is among them," Gandhi said insisting that whoever is responsible for this outcome has to be punished in strictest terms. In a series of other tweets, Gandhi said, "Any student can come to the University- whether he belongs to any caste or religion. He should feel that I can say what I want to say.
The idea of a University is that young people can come and share their thoughts." "These students were protesting against the unjust expulsion and social boycott of Dalit students on campus. Met students of the Ambedkar Students Association, Hyderabad University," he said in the other tweets.
Earlier, accompanied by senior Telangana Congress leaders, Gandhi paid tributes to Vemula by garlanding a memorial "stupa" put up in the university. He also spent some time with family members of Vemula and consoled them.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sack HRD Minister Smriti Irani, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and apologise to the nation over the alleged suicide by a Dalit student in Hyderabad university questioning their "interference" in the internal affairs of the institute.
Terming it as a "murder" of democracy, social justice and equality, Kejriwal said the incident, which sparked massive protests across the country, has shaken the "collective conscience" of the entire nation. In a statement, Kejriwal said the "searing injustice" of depriving Rohit Vemula, the deceased, along with four other research scholars of their monthly stipends, library facilities, and their eventual suspension from the Hyderabad Central university, led him to take the extreme step.
"The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is constitutionaly bound to protect the fundamental guarantees of the dalits, victims of historical discrimination and injustice. To this end the PM must ask this crucial question-- "What business do ministers have in interfering in the internal affairs of a University? How can a minister term young, bright students as anti-national, simply because they had an altercation with the ABVP? How can young Dalit students be socially ostracised and economically penalised by the University administration?" Kejriwal asked.) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sack HRD Minister Smriti Irani, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and apologise to the nation over the alleged suicide by a Dalit student in Hyderabad university questioning their "interference" in the internal affairs of the institute.
Kejriwal alleged that the two Ministers "endorsed and abetted" the ABVP's systematic campaign to "socially ostracise" the students and deny them "library facilities, deprive them of their monthly stipends, and finally have them suspended from the university itself."
Earlier, Kejriwal tweeted, "Modi govt constitutionally duty bound to uplift dalits. Instead Modiji's ministers got five dalit students ostracised and suspended." "It's not suicide. It's murder. It's murder of democracy, social justice and equality. Modiji should sack ministers and apologise to the nation," he said.
Rejecting Congress' demand for resignation of Union ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya over the suicide of a dalit student at Hyderabad Central University, BJP on Wednesday accused its vice president Rahul Gandhi of politicising the death.
Attacking Congress for taking the political discourse to "such a low" that it was doing politics over a student's death, BJP insisted there was no link between Rohith Vemula's suicide and the Hyderabad Central University's action against him and other students on a complaint against them.
Defending Dattatreya and Irani, party's national secretary Shrikant Sharma said the former had merely forwarded a complaint about the alleged anti-national activity of some students on the campus to the HRD Minister, who in turn referred it to the institution for appropriate action.
He noted the disciplinary action against Vemula and another student was taken by the university even before the Ministry's communication to it in this regard. "It is unfortunate that Rahul Gandhi is doing politics over suicide. Congress has stooped to such a low that it is doing politics over the death of a student. We reject any such demand (of resignation) outright," Sharma, accompanied by another party secretary Sidharth Nath Singh, told reporters.
They noted that the HRD Ministry had already sent a committee to inquire about the incident and it will soon submit its report. Earlier, BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao alleged that Vemula's suicide has been made into a political issue by "Congress, a section of media and some groups with vested interests". Rao, in a series of tweets, said, "Suicide of Rohith Vemula has nothing to do with Dalit issues or rights just because he was a Dalit. It is merely politicising of the issue."
"Disciplinary action was taken against Rohith at the advice of the court and even a lenient stand was taken by University authorities by permitting him to enter the campus except the hostel," he said. "Rahul Gandhi's hurried visit to Hyderabad is an unprincipled behaviour and it is unfortunate that a national political party stoops to such levels. "Congress did gross injustice to Dr B R Ambedkar and harassed him all his life. Now Rahul Gandhi and Digvijay Singh championing Dalit cause!" he said.
The BJP leader, who hails from Telangana, said the student's suicide note is self-revealing. "Connecting with incidents related to his ideological adversaries is baseless and orchestrated," he said. Taking a dig at Gandhi, Sharma said he was a "part-time and non-serious" politician.