New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha could not transact any business on Wednesday as continued ruckus by BSP members over the suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula led to repeated adjournments.
Tempers ran high as the House witnessed a clash between BSP supremo Mayawati and Union human resource development minister Smriti Irani.
Accusing the government of trying to “neglect” the issue, Ms Mayawati demanded inclusion of a Dalit member in the committee that is probing Vemula’s death. However, Ms Irani accused the BSP of using a “dead child” (Vemula) as “a political tool and strategy” and offered to reply to all questions.
“If the BSP leader is not satisfied, I am ready to behead myself and lay my head at your feet,” Ms Irani said. Ms Mayawati also dubbed the Vemula incident as an “insult to 25 crore Dalits” in the country and wanted resignation of two union ministers over it, sacking of the vice-chancellor of Hyder-abad University besides inclusion of a Dalit member in the probe committee.
“Since the time the BJP came to power at the Centre, nefarious means are being used to impose RSS ideology,” she said.
She added that prestigious institutions like Hyderabad University, Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Milia and Jawaharlal Nehru University were being interfered with. She also attacked the Congress and said Vemula’s suicide is not the first case and many Dalit students have committed suicide in the past when the UPA was in power at the Centre.
On her demand for inclusion of Dalit member in the probe committee, Ms Mayawati alleged the NDA government was waiting for a “signal from Nagpur”, indicating RSS headquarters, as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Amid sloganeering by BSP members, the HRD minister said the Opposition was using a “dead child” (Vemula) as “a political tool and strategy” and asked the Opposition to start discussion on the issue “right now”.
To Ms Mayawati’s persistent demands, Ms Irani said, “I am ready to reply to all questions. First you allow the discussion... You are senior to me. You are a woman. If you want, I am ready to reply. If you are not satisfied with my reply, I am ready to behead myself and lay it at your feet.”
Trouble began as soon as the House met for the day with Ms Mayawati speaking about the Vemula issue. Deputy chairman P.J. Kurien said the issue is already listed for a discussion later in the day....