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HRD Ministry rejects RTI plea for sharing report on Rohith Vemula’s death

HRD Ministry rejects RTI plea for sharing report on Rohith Vemula’s death

NEW DELHI: The Human Resource Development Ministry has rejected an RTI appeal for making public a panel’s report on the death of research scholar Rohith Vemula in University of Hyderabad.

Replying to an RTI query, the ministry had said that the file concerned was “under submission” and a copy of the report cannot be provided.

Aggrieved at the response, an appeal was filed with the First Appellate Authority of the ministry.

“As such I do not find any infirmity with the reply of the Central Public Information Officer (given earlier) and your appeal stands disposed of as far as the answering Appellate Authority is concerned,” the HRD Ministry said in reply to the appeal filed by PTI.

The HRD Ministry had in February last year appointed a Commission of Inquiry under Justice (retired) Ashok Kumar Roopanwal to look into the events at University of Hyderabad, culminating in the suicide by Vemula.

It was also tasked with reviewing the existing grievance redressal mechanism for students at the university and to suggest improvements. The Commission was asked to submit its report within three months of its formation.

After the panel submitted its report to the Ministry, media reports had claimed that the Commission had raised questions on Vemula’s Dalit status and attributed his suicide to personal reasons.

The university authorities too have been absolved of any blame for Vemula’s death as the Commission held that they were not working under political pressure, the reports said.

Vemula’s suicide in January 2016 had triggered a huge political furore with the then HRD Minister Smriti Irani coming under attack, along with Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya who had written a letter to the former related to the matter.

“If you are not satisfied with this reply, you may like to prefer second appeal before Central Information Commission,” the Appellate Authority said.