New Delhi, Jan. 21 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday backed Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s clarification on the death of a Dalit scholar at the Hyderabad University and accused the Congress Party of attempting to divide the society by playing politics on such a sensitive issue.
“The Congress Party has been saying that this incident was against Dalits. Smriti ji has just given a reference about the action being taken in this case, she has not spoken about castes. This is not about Dalits or non-Dalits, it is about the death of a student,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told ANI.
“The Congress is playing politics on the Hyderabad issue. Smriti ji has made it clear that this is not about Dalits and non-Dalits… Leaders from the Congress are visiting Hyderabad University to do politics, they are not going there to express their solidarity but to divide the society,” he added.
When asked about the Congress’ demanding Irani’s resignation, Hussain said it has now become a habit of the grand old party to demand the resignation of elected representatives as they were outright rejected by the people in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress earlier accused Irani of ‘shamefully justifying’ the Dalit scholar’s suicide at the University of Hyderabad and alleged that she committed the unpardonable sin of lying through her teeth to protect the ABVP and BJP leaders.
Irani in a clear reference to political rivals yesterday said that ‘malicious attempts are being made to make the incident a ‘Dalit v/s non-Dalit’ issue to ignite passions’.
More than 10 SC/ST teachers of the University yesterday resigned from their ‘administrative roles’ protesting against Irani’ remarks in Delhi that Dalit faculty members were also part of the University’s probe that eventually led to the expulsion of research scholar Rohith Vemula and four others.
The teachers alleged that baseless and misleading statements by Irani were bringing down the morale of the Dalits holding administrative positions in the university.
Meanwhile, politicians from various parties continued to mount pressure on the Centre demanding action against Irani and her Cabinet colleague Bandaru Dattatreya, charged with abetting Vemula’s suicide.
The Opposition has also been demanding the resignation of Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor Appa Rao.
Rohith, a second-year research scholar of Science, Technology and Society Studies Department, and others were suspended from the hostel last year following allegations that they attacked ABVP leader Sushil Kumar after the screening of a controversial documentary ‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai’.
Earlier this month, five students were thrown out of the hostel after they accused the university authorities of denying them access to campus facilities, except their classrooms and workshops.
The 28-year-old victim from Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district was found hanging at the hostel room of one of his friends around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. (ANI)