Remove Dattatreya from cabinet, demands Congress

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New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) The Congress on Monday demanded the removal of Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya from the union cabinet after he was booked for abetting the suicide of a research scholar of the University of Hyderabad.

Congress spokesperson R.P.N. Singh alleged that Dattatreya, the human resource development (HRD) ministry and members of the RSS students wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad “orchestrated” the circumstances leading to the tragic suicide by Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula.

“The minister, against whom an FIR was filed, should immediately be removed from the cabinet. The vice chancellor and others involved in this crime should also be removed from their respective posts,” Singh said.

Rohith Vemula, a second-year research scholar of science, technology and society studies department of the University of Hyderabad, was found hanging from the ceiling of a room in the New Research Scholars’ Hostel on Sunday night.

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He was one of the five Dalit students suspended and expelled from the hostel for staging a protest on the campus for the past 15 days.

R.P.N. Singh demanded that HRD Minister Smriti Irani should visit the campus and the vice chancellor and others involved should be immediately removed.

The Congress leader also read out from a letter written by the research scholar in December 2015 in which he said Dalit students were “socially boycotted”.

“Please serve 10 mg of Sodium Azide to all the Dalit students at the time of admission with dire. to use when they feel like reading Ambedkar. Supply a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalit students from your companion, the great chief warden…”

“I request your highness to make preparations for the facility ‘Euthanasia’ for students like me. And I with you and the campus, rest in peace forever,” Singh quoted the hand-written letter of Rohith as saying.

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Dattatreya had demanded action against the “anti-national” and “anti-social” elements on the campus.

“The unfortunate suicide by the Dalit research scholar amidst circumstances deliberately orchestrated by union minister Bandaru Dattatreya, HRD ministry and their cohorts of the ABVP, is yet again a blatant manifestation of the anti-Dalit agenda and mindset of the government at the Centre and its controller the RSS,” Singh said.

He alleged that “a systematic atmosphere against the Dalits and backward classes was being created by BJP-RSS over last few months”.

The Congress leader also alleged that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had in the past made controversial remarks for “review of reservations” and said the Modi government had slashed the Scheduled Castes sub-plan by Rs.19,734 crore in this fiscal compared to 2014-15.

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