Hyderabad : Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday flayed the Centre over Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s clarification over the death of a Dalit scholar and said the issue is not about Dalits but ‘injustice’.
“We strongly condemn the caste angle given to RohithVemula’s death by Smriti Irani. Yesterday, Irani’s statements were shameful, she was lying,” Kejriwal said.
He further slammed Minister of State for Labour Bandaru Dattatrey for his letter to the HRD Ministry, saying it is shameful that a responsible minister without inquiring into the facts has concluded that the Ambedkar Students Association is casteist.
“It is shameful that a Union Minister used words like ‘extremist, casteist and anti-national’ in his letter,” he said.
“Talking about Ambedkar and his views, cannot be anti-national,” he added.
Kejriwal further said it is the responsibility of the HRD Minister to provide justice to the Dalit students.
Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani in a clear reference to political rivals yesterday said that ‘malicious attempts are being made to make the incident a ‘Dalit v/s non-Dalit’ issue to ignite passions’.
Irani evaded a query whether she agreed with Cabinet colleague Bandaru Dattatreya’s view calling Ambedkar Students’ Association ‘anti-national’.
More than 10 SC/ST teachers of the University yesterday resigned from their ‘administrative roles’ protesting against Irani’ remarks in Delhi that Dalit faculty members were also part of the University’s probe that eventually led to the expulsion of research scholar Rohith Vemula and four others.
The teachers alleged that baseless and misleading statements by Irani were bringing down the morale of the Dalits holding administrative positions in the university.
Meanwhile, politicians from various parties continued to mount pressure on the Centre demanding action against Irani and her Cabinet colleague Bandaru Dattatreya, charged with abetting Vemula’s suicide.
The Opposition has also been demanding the resignation of Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor Appa Rao.
Rohith, a second-year research scholar of Science, Technology and Society Studies Department, and others were suspended from the hostel last year following allegations that they attacked ABVP leader Sushil Kumar after the screening of a controversial documentary ‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai’.
Earlier this month, five students were thrown out of the hostel after they accused the university authorities of denying them access to campus facilities, except their classrooms and workshops.
The 28-year-old victim from Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district was found hanging at the hostel room of one of his friends around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. (ANI)