No caste an­gle to sui­cide of scholar, re­torts govt

HYDERABAD DEATH Min­is­ter Sm­riti Irani calls it ‘an at­tempt to pro­voke stu­dents’

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dents let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The BJPled cen­tral govern­ment launched a coun­terof­fen­sive on Wed­nes­day to blunt op­po­si­tion at­tacks on two cen­tral min­is­ters over a Dalit scholar’s sui­cide, as HRD min­is­ter Sm­riti Irani pointed to­wards a “ma­li­cious at­tempt” to pro­ject the is­sue as a caste bat­tle.

Fac­ing strong protests and de­mands for her res­ig­na­tion from op­po­si­tion par­ties over Ro­hith Vem­ula’s death, Irani said this was be­ing done to ig­nite pas­sions for political gains, while labour min­is­ter Ban­daru Dat­ta­treya tried to dis­tance him­self from the con­tro­versy, say­ing he did not push the Univer­sity of Hyderabad to sus­pend the stu­dent.

“This is not a Dalit ver­sus nonDalit is­sue as be­ing pro­jected by some to ig­nite pas­sion and there is a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt to pro­voke stu­dents across the coun­try,” Irani said in Delhi, while re­ject­ing al­le­ga­tions that her min­istry had put pres­sure on the univer­sity to sus­pend Vem­ula.

The Irani- led HRD min­istry has been at the cen­tre of a con­tro­versy af­ter it emerged that it had writ­ten five let­ters to the univer­sity fol­low­ing Dat­ta­treya’s com­plaint that the cam­pus had turned into a “den of casteist, ex­trem­ist and anti-na­tional pol­i­tics”.

Irani, who ad­dressed a press con­fer­ence in Delhi, read out from the re­search scholar’s sui- cide note as well as other doc­u­ments to drive home her points.

“The doc­u­ment which is be­ing cir­cu­lated as Ro­hith Vem­ula’s sui­cide note does not men­tion any name of MP or min­is­ter,” said Irani in re­sponse to al­le­ga­tions that Dat­ta­treya’s com­plaint and the min­istry’s fol­low-up had led to his sus­pen­sion along with four other stu­dents. “An MP wrote about cer­tain ob­ser­va­tions and we merely fol­lowed rules. Dat­ta­treya him­self is a Ya­dav.”

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