Nation Current Affairs 20 Jan 2016 HCU suicide: Dattatr ...

HCU suicide: Dattatreya, Irani firefight, refute allegations of intervention

Published Jan 20, 2016, 6:18 pm IST
Updated Jan 20, 2016, 8:17 pm IST
The Union Ministers are facing political heat for allegedly putting pressure on HCU.
Students have been protesting against Dattatreya and Smriti Irani, demanding their resignation (Photo: PTI)
 Students have been protesting against Dattatreya and Smriti Irani, demanding their resignation (Photo: PTI)

Hyderabad: Dismissing allegations that a letter written by him to HRD ministry led to the suspension of a Dalit scholar who later committed suicide, Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya on Wednesday sought to clarify that he merely forwarded a representation given to him by some students.

Rohith Vemula was one of the five students who was barred from accessing the hostel and other facilities of Hyderabad Central University.


"Apart from being a Union Minister, I am also an elected member of Parliament from Secunderabad constituency. Since my entry into politics in 80s, I have always been a leader connected to masses and to all sections of the society on a daily basis, whether or not in any positions of power.

Read: HCU scholar's suicide goes awry, call for removal of Irani, Dattatreya grows

"Taking representations from common people, constituents and forwarding it to concerned ministries is what I consider my earnest responsibility by being an elected people's representative," the Union Minister said in a statement.


Expressing "deep shock" over the scholar's demise, Dattatreya said he would have forwarded the representation in the same way had they been given by any student groups.

"My role was only limited to forwarding these two representations. I would have happily forwarded representations of any other student body, if they had approached me," he said hoping that the matter now will rest with this clarification.

Read: I have nothing to do with Dalit student's suicide: Bandaru Dattatreya

"I have expressed my deep shock on learning about the death of Hyderabad University research scholar Rohit Vemula and I wish his family condolences and the strength to withstand and overcome this tragic loss," he added.


Elaborating the series of events, Dattatreya said on August 10, 2015 he received a representation on the "state of affairs" in the University, which, he said, disturbed him "greatly" and he forwarded the same to the Ministry of HRD hoping that things in the campus would change for better.

"On 29th August 2015 I received a second representation in this and this too I forwarded to the MoHRD with a request, to look into the matter and to do the needful," he said.

"The University of Hyderabad, is an autonomous institution with established procedures and I have no role in the administration of the University," he explained.


Read: 'Rahul attempting to divide society over student's suicide,' says BJP

Earlier, Smriti Irani alleged that a malicious attempt was being made to project it as a "dalit versus non-dalit issue to ignite passions" for political gains.

Irani, flanked by two senior Cabinet colleagues Thaawar Chand Gehlot and Nirmala Sitharaman, addressed a press conference where she strongly refuted allegations of interference and putting pressure on the university authority to take action against the dalit students.

Read: Rohith's caste kicks off storm, his tiff with ABVP over poster goes viral


"This is not a dalit versus non-dalit issue as being projected by some to ignite passions.... A malicious attempt is being made to show it as a caste battle which it is not," the Human Resource Development Minister said.

She said even the suicide note by Rohith Vermula, the dalit student, did not mention any MP or political party responsible for his decision to take the extreme step.

Accusing the Congress of trying to use the issue for political gains, Irani also referred to a letter written to the Ministry by party MP Hanumantha Rao in September 2014 where he had talked about suicides by marginalised students in the university for over four years.


"Congress wants to shoot on this issue which is expected but unfortunate.... The Congress MP says that this problem persisted for four years. If they (Congress) had fixed the problem four years ago, perhaps Rohith's life could have been saved," Irani said.

The Minister said the two-member fact finding committee which was sent to the university by the HRD Ministry will return tonight and file its report after which further details will be known in the case which is sub-judice.