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Smriti Irani hits out at rivals

Smriti Irani hits out at rivals
Highlights

Reacting to the political storm that is brewing over the suicide of Vemula Rohith, a Dalit scholar from University of Hyderabad (UoH), the Union Minister for HRD Smriti Irani on Wednesday said it was unfortunate that Rohith committed suicide in Hyderabad and appealed to the students not to fall a prey to the politics of Opposition parties.

ROHITH’S SUICIDE

  • The Union HRD Minister expresses anguish over the incident; appeals to students across the country not to fall prey to ‘malicious designs’

New Delhi: Reacting to the political storm that is brewing over the suicide of Vemula Rohith, a Dalit scholar from University of Hyderabad (UoH), the Union Minister for HRD Smriti Irani on Wednesday said it was unfortunate that Rohith committed suicide in Hyderabad and appealed to the students not to fall a prey to the politics of Opposition parties.

Speaking to media here, the Union Minister expressed concern that leaders were talking about the incident without ascertaining the facts. She said the mother of Sushil Kumar, who was attacked, had approached the High Court on August 4 last year. On the direction of the High Court, the university authorities set up a committee and on the basis of the committee report, action had been taken against the students.

Smiriti Irani also reminded that the High Court had even refused to order stay on the action taken by the UoH authorities against the students. Therefore, this incident should not be taken as an issue between the Dalits and other students, she added. “This kind of incident was not new in UoH,” she said, adding that Congress MP V Hanumantha Rao had also written a detailed letter about the situation in the university.

“VH has mentioned in his letter about the suicides of seven students of the university, encroachment of university land and misappropriation of university funds. Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has also written a letter about the situation in the university as Congress MP VH did earlier,” she stated.

Smriti Irani said a two-member fact-finding committee, which visited UoH would submit its report by Wednesday evening. She appealed to the students not to fall prey to the politics of political parties and it was not proper to give a political color to the incident. A committee was set up by HRD Ministry to look into the circumstances leading to suicide of Rohith, she added.

She also pointed out that the deceased student Rohith, in his suicide note, neither mentioned the name of any person nor did he hold anybody responsible for his death. Hitting back at political rivals, Smriti Irani accused them of attempting to ‘instigate’ students all over the country on the issue of Rohith’s suicide and dismissed demands for her resignation.

After keeping a low profile for the last two days, Irani addressed a press conference flanked by three Ministers where she took on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying the party wanted to ‘shoot’ on the issue which was ‘expected but unfortunate’. Claiming that a ‘malicious attempt’ was being made to project the suicide as a Dalit versus non-dalit caste battle over which ‘passions’ were being ignited, the Minister rejected allegations that her Ministry's intervention through letters had led to the suicide Rohith.

Facing a number of questions, Irani said she did not want to get into political mudslinging or a blame game and was only bringing certain facts to set the record straight in the face of attempts to create caste divisions in the society. “An effort is on to instigate students all over the country. My appeal is, please do not instigate students and communities deli- berately,” she said.

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