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SC/ST Teachers of Hyd Varsity Questions Irani’s Claims—Rohit Issue

Smirti Irani

Hyderabad: Alleging that the Union Human Resource Development Minister Smrithi Irani’s claims were not only factually incorrect, but they point to an utter lack of respect and sensitivity for the grieving family, friends, and students, SC/ST Teachers’ Forum and Concerned Faculty, University of Hyderabad, has stated that Smrithi Irani clearly disconnected from the heart breaking grief of Rohit Vemula’s friends palpable to anyone present that night or the accompanying anger knowing the injustice that led to this tragedy.
SC/ST Teachers’ Forum & Concerned Faculty, in an Open letter to the Union Minister today, questioned Smrithi whether it befits the minister to implicate these very grieving people in the death of their beloved friend. Describing her speech as a stunning performance, the Forum said that many faculty members from the University of Hyderabad, were compelled to do what they should have done in the last one month or so, but could not bring them to – write, write about Rohith, write about other students, write about the state of academics, write about faculty and write about society at large.
They said that they watched Smrithi in disbelief on TV screens on 24th February 2016, in a voice choked with emotion, again and again referred to the “child” whose death has been used as a political weapon. They asked Smrithi that at what precise point, did this sinister, anti-national, casteist, Dalit student of the University of Hyderabad transform into a child for her Definitely, not in those five rejoinders from MHRD between 03-09-2015 and 19-11- 2015 with the subject line “anti-national activities in Hyderabad Central University Campus. Definitely not when she chose to overlook and endorse what can only be read as extraordinarily aggressive and unfounded allegations by a minister in her own government, Bandaru Dattatreya. Irani, her constant reference to him as a child is nothing but a patronizing attempt to dehumanize his reality. It is also deeply disrespectful to Rohit’s mother whose child he actually is – because she knows how ironic her appropriation of him is, considering her culpability in his death.
The faculty also found fault with Smrithi for terming Rohit as a Child saying that only after more than a month of his death Rohith becomes a ‘child’ for her “whose death was used as a political weapon.” A political weapon by whom, honourable Minister? By the other four students who were expelled with him and who spent those cold nights out in the makeshift velivada, with nothing but each other for company and succour? By the other students and friends who stood by him?, they questioned and said because she definitely seems to imply that when she say this child could possibly have been revived and yet his body was hidden and no doctor or police was allowed near him. They said that by now incontrovertible facts have emerged that belie this.
However, they said that they would like to go beyond those facts and appeal to the Minister’s heart. The Minister was not there that night. She did not see the grief or the shock, nor were she there to feel the despair. How could she even begin to fathom how desperate students were when they called faculty members and medical doctor of the University’s Health Centre as soon as Rohith’s body was found hanging by students and security officials? As Dr. Rajyasree, Medical officer has stated, she rushed to the hostel at 7.30 pm and declared Rohith dead at 7.40 pm, all recorded in his case sheet on that fateful night of 17-01-2016. The police arrived at the scene immediately after this. They said that it was beyond their simple comprehension to understand how the Minister with her meticulous preparation evident in the Loksabha speech ignored these crucial medical documents / preliminary evidences. This also includes the post mortem report that declares Rohith was dead at least 18-24 hours before the body was examined the subsequent day. From all the medical and post mortem reports, statements by friends, faculty, and university officials – it is clear that Rohith’s body was found hours after he hung himself. (NSS)

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