Dalit scholar’s suicide: Govt orders probe
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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