'Politics aside, a mother lost her son,' says Modi on Rohith Vemula's suicide

Political parties have been demanding that Modi act against Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani.

Lucknow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been under attack from various political parties to act against Union Ministers Bandaru Dattatreya and Smriti Irani in the Rohith Vemula suicide case, for the first time on Friday, referred to the incident and said he “understood his family’s pain.”

"When there is news that a youth of my country, Rohith, was compelled to commit suicide, what his family must have gone through. Mother India has lost a son. There will be reasons, there will be politics (surrounding it) but the fact remains that a mother has lost her son. I understand their pain very well," Modi said during a convocation ceremony in a Lucknow university.

Read: HCU suicide: Mystery over scratched paragraph in Rohith’s last letter

Modi’s address comes close on the heels of reports that HRD Minister Smriti Irani spoke to Rohith Vemula's mother over phone and assured her that justice will be done on the basis of a judicial inquiry.

Congress, CPI and Aam Aadmi Party have repeatedly attacked Modi for maintaining silence on the issue. They have also been demanding that he take action against his ministers.

Read: Opposition rejects Narendra Modi’s speech over Dalit scholar suicide

Political leaders have blamed Labour Minister Dattatreya's letter of Aug 17 last year to Irani seeking action against the "anti national activities" of a students union, leading to Rohith’s eventual suicide.

Read: HCU suicide: No names in suicide note may not be helpful for accused

Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and the Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor were also named in an FIR for abetment of suicide.

Rohith Vemula, the dead student, was among five research scholars who were suspended by the varsity in August last year and also one of the accused in the case of assault on a ABVP leader. They were also kept out of the hostel. Rohith was found hanging in the hostel room located on the varsity campus on January 17.

Fresh protests rocked the Hyderabad Central University campus on Friday with students seeking "unconditional" revocation of suspension of four dalit students and action against those responsible for the alleged suicide of research scholar Rohith Vemula.

Read: V-C revokes suspension of 4 other dalit students, makes decision conditional

The university authorities had on Thursday "terminated" the punishment imposed on the students who were originally suspended along with Rohith in August last year, but the protesting students were not satisfied with the revocation of the suspension.

In solidarity with the students, the Controller of Examinations, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Warden were and 10 other faculty members belonging to SC-ST communities had given up their administrative posts, which they were holding as an additional responsibility.

Read: HCU suicide: Teachers reject V-C’s talks request

Vijaya Kumar, one of the students, whose suspension was revoked, had said this was not enough.

"The VC must go.This (revocation) is a welcome decision. But we can't celebrate it because Rohith is not there. We are not able to accept your decision. We have other demands like appropriate compensation and a job for one of the members of Rohith's family," he said.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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