New Delhi: Slamming the Congress for attacking the Centre over Rohith Vemula’s suicide, Union Minister of State, Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday asserted that no other government till date had taken more steps for the development and welfare of Dalit students than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“It can’t be more false that this government is anti-Dalit and it is an attempt to spread such a message among people. Be is Baba Saheb Ambedkar or the welfare of Dalit students, no other government has taken as many steps as the current government,” Sitharaman told ANI.
Maintaining that the BJP Government has worked on the maintenance of Ambedkar’s memorials in different locations, she said that the Congress had failed to make any developments for the Dalit community in anyway.
“For 60 years the Congress in comparison has not done anything. They are raising their voice now because they are scared that this government might change the legacy of Dalits and Ambedkar in the country,” she added.
Earlier, the under-fire Union Human Resource and Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani asserted that the suicide of Rohith Vemula was not a Dalit versus a non-Dalit confrontation and attempts were being made to ‘ignite passion’ in the case of the Dalit scholar’s death across communities.
“This is not a Dalit versus non-Dalit issue as some people are trying to portray. There has been a malice attempt to ignite passions and present this as a caste battle it is not. This is an issue which is being investigated by local police and sub judice in the High Court,” she said.
She also attempted to shift the blame on the previous UPA regime and said things would have been in place at the moment had the Congress taken action then.
Irani attempted to defend Minister of State for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya, who has been charged with abetting Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide.
Meanwhile, the Congress Party demanded an apology from her over her assertion and said that her argument only exposes the BJP’s anti-SC, anti-poor and intolerant mindset.
“Her argument of Dalit vs Non Dalit exposes the anti-SC, anti-poor and intolerant mindset of the BJP even further. We ask her to apologise,” Congress spokesperson Deepender Hooda told ANI.
Rohith Vemula, who belonged to Guntur district of Amravati, was found hanging in his hostel room on Sunday. He was doing his PhD in science technology and society studies for the past two years.
The protests escalated yesterday over Rohith’s suicide with activists demonstrating outside the residence of Dattatreya, who has been accused of abetment of the Dalit scholar’s suicide and demanded his resignation.