New Delhi: The HRD Ministry on Tuesday rejected allegations that it had put any pressure on the University of Hyderabad in the matter relating to the suspension of Dalit student Rohith Vemula, who committed suicide on Sunday.
The ministry said it had written as many as five letters to Hyderabad University on Labour Minister Bandaru Dattareya’s complaint regarding “anti-national activities” on the campus and the “violent attack” on an ABVP leader but maintained it was standard procedure on such “VIP references”.
Questions have been raised about the HRD ministry’s five letters, which have been blamed as one of the major reasons for Rohith’s suicide, which has snowballed into a massive political row.
HRD officials however claimed that after Dattatreya, MP from Secunderabad, wrote the letter on August 17 last year, the ministry only followed the standard practice by writing to the University on September 3, seeking the “issues raised by the MoS may be examined and facts intimated.”
“It would be wrong to say that the Ministry has put any pressure on the Hyderabad University. The Ministry had only followed the procedure as per the Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedure. According to the procedure, if there is a VIP reference, it has to be acknowledged in 15 days and another 15 days may be taken to reply to it. Since no response was coming from the University, the Ministry had to send reminders,” HRD Ministry spokesperson Ghanshyam Goel said.
Read: Police books Bandaru Dattatreya for Hyderabad scholar Rohith’s suicide
Seeking to justify the Ministry’s action, officials said that even in Cabinet meetings the Ministry is supposed to provide all details about pending assurances, VIP references, grievances etc.
According to sources, the Ministry had sent its first letter on September 3, 2015 to the University, and reminders were later sent on September 24, October 6, October 20 and November 19. Officials said that the University finally replied on the matter on January 7.
Read: I have nothing to do with Dalit student’s suicide: Bandaru Dattatreya
Dattatreya had written a letter to HRD Minister Smriti Irani after a clash between two student groups in the campus in which an ABVP leader Susheel Kumar was attacked.
Dattatreya had sought action against ‘anti-national acts’ happening on HCU campus.Dattatreya had sought action against ‘anti-national acts’ happening on HCU campus.
The issue took a political turn with allegations that the extreme step taken by Rohith was a result of discrimination against dalit students at the behest of Dattatreya, following his letter to Irani, seeking action against their “anti-national acts”.
Rohith was found hanging at the Central University’s hostel room in the campus on Sunday, triggering protests from fellow students on Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, the two-member fact finding team which was sent by the HRD Ministry to take stock of the situation at the Hyderabad University were met with chants of ‘go back’ by the protesting students.
Read: Fresh protests in Hyderabad over Dalit scholar’s suicide, Rahul visits HCU
The team was sent to take stock of the current situation at the University and then give a detailed report to the ministry. The students kept chanting and protesting while the team, flanked by the police, were seen attempting to speak to the students.
However, the students seemed to calm down after a while and began briefing the team on their demands.
Rahul Gandhi, who visited the University campus in Hyderabad, alleged that the Vice Chancellor and Union Ministers have not acted fairly in the case and demanded “strictest” punishment for those responsible for the student’s death. “This youngster was put in so much pain that he had no option but to kill himself. But when you impose ideas on youngsters, and want only those ideas, then tragedies take place.”
Read: Union Minister, HCU VC responsible for Rohith’s suicide, says Rahul Gandhi
“Every student can come to the University – whether he belongs to any caste or religion. He should feel that I can say what I want to say,” he said in a series of tweets. “The idea of a University is that young people can come and share their thoughts,” he said, adding, “These students were protesting against the unjust expulsion and social boycott of Dalit students on campus.”
He also met students of the Ambedkar Students Association.
Read: HCU suicide: Arvind Kejriwal attacks Modi, says not suicide, it’s murder
Meanwhile, BJP accused Rahul of politicising Rohith’s suicide and insisted that the issue had nothing to do with the victim being from the backward community.
About Rahul’s hastened visit, BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao attacked Rahul Gandhi for “unprincipled” behaviour, saying that the same Congress which had “harassed” Dalit leader B R Ambedkar “all his life” was now trying to project itself as champion of Dalit cause.
Read: Rahul ‘merely politicising issue’, says BJP as 2-member HRD team reaches Hyderabad
He alleged that Hyderabad student Rohith Vemula’s suicide has been made into political issue by “Congress, section of media and some groups with vested interests”.
Source From Deccan Chronicle
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