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Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya booked for abetment to Dalit’s suicide

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Hyderabad police on Monday filed an FIR against Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya under the SC/ST Act after students alleged that the minister wrote to the HRD ministry demanding the suspension of five research scholars studying in Hyderabad Central University. The minister was later also charged with abetment to suicide.

Meanwhile, the HRD Ministry has sent a two-member fact-finding team to Hyderabad. According to official sources, the team led by Shakila T Shamsu, OSD in the ministry, and comprising another Deputy Secretary level officer Surat Singh, will go to Hyderabad today to look into the entire matter and submit the report to the HRD ministry.

Trouble began when the body of Vemula Rohit, a Dalit PhD scholar, was found hanging at the Central University’s hostel room in the campus on Sunday.

Rohit was among the five research scholars who were suspended by Hyderabad Central University (HCU) in August last year and also one of the accused in the case of assault on a student leader, Anand had said.

The suspension was revoked later. Further investigation in the case is on. The five research scholars were suspended from the hostel for rest of their study period for allegedly attacking an ABVP leader.

Last week, a section of students had laid siege to the Administrative Building of the HCU against the suspension of the research scholars.

The students under the umbrella of a Joint Action Committee (JAC) had termed the suspension as “undemocratic” and as a “social boycott” since the five research scholars were denied access to hostels and were forced to sleep in a makeshift tent on the campus.

Based on the recommendations of a sub-committee of the Executive Council, the five were denied access to hostels on the campus except their classrooms and workshops related to their subject of study.

The council had recommended the punishment based on a Proctorial Committee inquiry.

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