Hyderabad, Jan 21 (IANS) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday sought the dismissal of central ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya as well as the vice chancellor of Hyderabad University over the suicide of a Dalit research scholar.
Addressing a gathering of students at the campus, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also asked Human Resource Development Minister Irani to apologize for “playing dirty caste politics” over Rohith Vemula’s suicide.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi “should dismiss both the ministers”, he said to applause.
Kejriwal demanded that Irani’s name should be included in the FIR filed against minister of state for labour Dattetreya, vice chancellor P. Appa Rao and two leaders of the ABVP, the student wing of the RSS.
Vemula hanged himself to death in the campus on Sunday after he and five other Dalit students had been suspended by the university on charges of assaulting an ABVP leader.
The ABVP leader later approached Dattatreya, the BJP MP from Secunderabad who wrote to the university calling the group to which Vemula and his friends belonged as casteist, anti-national and extremist.
Kejriwal demanded a probe into the phone calls Irani made to the university to aggressively pursue the issue after Dattatreya wrote letters to her.
The AAP leader said since harassing Dalits was a non-bailalable and cognizable offence, police should immediately arrest them.
“The VC should be removed immediately,” he told the students who have been holding protests since Vemula’s suicide.
He accused Irani of playing “dirty caste politics” and asked her to “seek forgiveness from the country”.
Vemula’s suicide has sparked major protests in the university – and beyond.
Quoting medical reports and an affidavit filed by the university registrar, Kejriwal insisted that the allegation of assault on the ABVP leader was concocted.
He denounced Dattatreya for calling Vemula and his friends “anti-national, casteist and extremist” — allegations which led the university to act against Vemula.
“It is a matter of shame that a responsible central minister, without inquiring the facts, concluded that the Ambedkar student group of which Vemula was a member was casteist and anti-national.”
Vemula was the son of a farm worker who joined the university on the strength of his academic merit, Kejriwal said.
“When such bright students have to commit suicide, it is a shame on the entire society.”
Targetting the Narendra Modi government, he said it was appointing people with RSS and ABVP background as vice chancellors and directors.
“They have no ideology. They are neither for Hindus nor Muslims nor Dalits. They are only hungry for power. They are giving a message that if you don’t follow them, they will teach you a lesson,” he said.