Dalit scholar’s sui­cide: Govt or­ders probe

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

HYDERABAD/NEW DELHI: The govern­ment or­dered a ju­di­cial in­quiry on Fri­day into the cir­cum­stances that led to Dalit scholar Ro­hith Vem­ula’s sui­cide as the cri­sis at Univer­sity of Hyderabad in­ten­si­fied af­ter pro­test­ers re­jected the re­vo­ca­tion of four stu­dents’ sus­pen­sion and re­fused to end their strike un­til the vice-chan­cel­lor re­signed.

The de­ci­sion came on the rec­om­men­da­tion of the hu­man re­source de­vel­op­ment (HRD) min­istry’s fact-find­ing com­mit­tee that pointed to “a com­plete sys­temic fail­ure” and blamed univer­sity au­thor­i­ties for han­dling the is­sue “in­sen­si­tively”. The ju­di­cial probe re­port would be sub­mit­ted within three months, the min­istry said.

Vem­ula’s sui­cide found an echo in Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s speech at the con­vo­ca­tion cer­e­mony of Ambed­kar Univer­sity in Luc­know where he said he was sad­dened by the sui­cide and could feel the pain of the scholar’s fam­ily that had lost a bright son. “I am not go­ing into the rea­sons, the pol­i­tics of the is­sue, but I em­pathise with the fam­ily which has lost so much,” Modi said as tears welled up in his eyes.

A few stu­dents who shouted slo­gans of “Go back, Modi” dur­ing the PM’s speech were whisked away from the venue by se­cu­rity per­son­nel. The stu­dents protest­ing in Hyderabad said the PM’s re­sponse came too late and that the ju­di­cial probe was just a di­ver­sion­ary tac­tic.

Univer­sity au­thor­i­ties an­nounced a com­pen­sa­tion of Rs 8 lakh for the be­reaved fam­ily and HRD min­is­ter Sm­riti Irani spoke to Vem­ula’s mother to as­sure her that jus­tice would be done. The HRD min­istry’s fact-find­ing com­mit­tee said cor­rec­tive mea­sures should be taken such as in­sti­tu­tion­al­is­ing a men­tor sys­tem for dis­ad­van­taged stu­dents, a griev­ance re­dress mech­a­nism and an ori­en­ta­tion pro­gramme to sen­si­tise ad­min­is­tra­tors on Dalit is­sues.

There can­not be any­thing more sad­den­ing than a mother los­ing her son.

NAREN­DRA MODI, Prime Min­is­ter,

on the Ro­hith Vem­ula sui­cide, while

speak­ing at a univer­sity in Luc­know



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