Irani ‘shamefully justifying’ Dalit scholar’s suicide: Congress

New Delhi, Jan. 21 (ANI): The Congress Party on Thursday accused Union HRD Minister 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.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said both Irani and her Cabinet colleague Bandaru Dattatreya should be sacked immediately.

“The Vice Chancellor should not only be sacked but should also face the probe,” Surjewala said.

“Is strict action against Dalit students on the complaints of ABVP and BJP leaders justified? Did Smriti Irani forget that the hostel warden was simply following orders of the V-C?” he asked.

Union HRD Minister Smriti 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’.

Irani evaded a query whether she agreed with Cabinet colleague Bandaru Dattatreya’s view calling Ambedkar Students’ Association ‘anti-national’.

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.

Appa Rao, presently in the eye of the storm, post the Dalit scholar’s suicide. According to certain media reports, Rao outsmarted more than 35 candidates to become the University’s Vice-Chancellor in September 2015 because of his alleged political connections and lobbying skills.

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)

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