New Delhi: Dalit student Rohith Vemula’s mother on Friday accused Union HRD minister Smriti Irani of resorting to “blatant lies” in Parliament about her son’s suicide. “Life imprisonment” will not be enough for her and others responsible for his death, Radhika Vemula said. With her son Raja, beside her, Ms Vemula said the BJP would be “decimated” if Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not take any action against Ms Irani and minister Bandaru Dattatreya who had written multiple letters to her seeking action against Rohith for alleged anti-national activities.
Speaking to the media at the Indian Women’s Press Corps here, Ms Vemula demanded a Special Investigation Team to probe the circumstances that led to her son’s suicide. She demanded an explanation from Mr Modi on Rohith being branded as anti-national and an extremist.
“Irani, this is not a small screen to act, this is real life. Bring out the facts, don’t fabricate them. How many parents would you like to suffer? Irani has lied multiple times while speaking on the issue in Parliament. Why has action not been taken against her,” Ms Vemula said a press conference. “Even life imprisonment will not be enough for the ministers, vice-chancellor and the ABVP activists who were responsible for my son’s death,” Ms Vemula said.
Ms Irani had said that the University of Hyderabad committee which acted against Rohith had a Dalit representative, and that doctors were not allowed to revive him after he was found hanging. Mr Raja Vemula dubbed the minister’s statement as “blatant lies”, saying he had reached the campus by 8.30 pm and had seen police and doctors at the place where the body was kept. Rohith’s friend Dontha Prashant, who was also expelled from the hostel by the UoH, cited minutes of the university’s Executive Council meeting and said action was taken against them in response to a communication from the HRD Ministry to not allow the students to continue their academics.
He said the minister must be punished for misleading the nation and giving a false statement in Parliament. Mr Prasanth questioned why Ms Irani had not mentioned Rohith’s December 18 letter to vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile, where he had sought “a rope or sodium azide” to dalit students if the university does not want them. “This stands as crucial testimony. Why is Irani hiding the letter,” Mr Prashanth asked.
Ms Vemula said Prof. Appa Rao had never communicated to her anything about that letter nor did he meet her.